Philip Morris International Buys Nicotine Aerosol Technology

NEW YORK -Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) bought the global rights to technology that creates nicotine in the form of an aerosol as the company seeks smokeless and potentially less harmful alternatives to traditional cigarettes.

The world’s biggest tobacco company by revenue, which and outside the U.S., bought the patent from inventors including Jed Rose, director of Duke University’s Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

It’s too early to say what form a product might eventually take or whether it will contain tobacco, Philip Morris spokesman Peter Nixon said. He said translating the technology into a product could take “a few years.”

Nicotine itself isn’t believed to cause many common smoking-related diseases. Explaining that the ailments are often linked instead to combustion, Philip Morris said the new, non-burning technology “has the potential to reduce the harm of smoking.”

A number of companies have expanded their smokeless tobacco offerings in recent years amid increasing bans on indoor smoking and continued concerns over the harmful effects of cigarettes. Philip Morris is in a partnership with Swedish Match AB (SWMA.SK), which makes moist snuff products called snus, for international marketing of smokeless tobacco. British American Tobacco PLC (BATS.LN, BTI), one of Philip Morris’s major competitors, launched a startup in April to develop new nicotine-based, non-tobacco products.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Altria Group Inc. (MO) recently began testing spit-free, tobacco-coated sticks that resemble toothpicks and Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) launched an advertising campaign this week for its Camel Snus product to coincide with an expanded smoking ban in New York City.

By Melissa Korn,
Dow Jones Newswires
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