BAT to introduce alternative nicotine product in UK next year

In a move to counter stricter global smoking restrictions, British American Tobacco Plc (BATS) said, it may sell an alternative nicotine product in the UK as early as next year.

The company expects to receive approval for a new ''tobacco inhalation device'' that is not an electronic cigarette, by the end of this year. Bloomberg reported Kingsley Wheaton, BAT's director of corporate and regulatory affairs as saying in a telephone interview today that it could be  ''ready to launch some time in 2014, if not, 2015.''

The tobacco giant reported a 2.9-per cent gain in full-year profit after increasing prices. The company has appointed its former group operations director Des Naughton as managing director of Next Generation Products. According to the company, it planned to increase its share buyback programme in 2013.

In December, BAT spent about £40 million ($60.6 million) on acquisition of based UK-based CN Creative Ltd, that made e-cigarettes. In 2010 it set up Nicoventures, the company developing the new device. According to the website of Nicoventures' product was a ''safe alternative to cigarettes.''

Bloomberg quoted Erik Bloomquist, an analyst at Berenberg Bank in London as saying that it was interesting that BAT had made 'next generation products' a management board-level position, which would add to investors' enthusiasm.