BAT debuts new UK vape to fend off Juul, IQOS


LONDON • British American Tobacco plc (BAT) is introducing a vaping device in the UK that delivers nicotine more efficiently, the latest salvo in a battle to attract smokers to cigarette alternatives amid ever tougher regulations on smoking.

BAT is debuting the new product, dubbed Vype iSwitch, in the face of competition from Philip Morris International Inc’s IQOS, as well as Juul, the industry upstart that started selling e-cigarettes in the UK five months ago.

The new device comes out of BAT’s US$2.5 billion (RM10.48 billion) research drive into smoking alternatives.

As the name suggests, the company hopes the iSwitch will lure more traditional tobacco smokers to start vaping. The product’s success could be critical as US regulators mull stricter tobacco restrictions.

“There are many more smokers who have yet to find a satisfying vaping alternative,” Elly Criticou, BAT’s vapour category director, said in a statement.

The iSwitch comes in a standard version, which retails for about £30 (RM159.22), and an upscale version, the Maxx, which sells for about £50.

Both devices are available at five stores that BAT runs under the VIP brand in London, and further expansion is planned early next year. Replacement cartridges retail for about £9 for a pack of two.

The iSwitch lets the user take a bigger mouthful of vapour than other devices. Rather than using a metal coil to vaporise liquid nicotine, the new device is the first on the market that uses a stainless steel blade for heating, according to the company. That helps deliver a hit more efficiently to the user.