Philip Morris International acquires patent for an innovative nicotine-delivery system

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The leading privately-owned cigarette maker said last week it has purchased the rights for an aerosol nicotine-delivery technology created by Jed Rose, head of the Duke University Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation. The school was not part of the agreement with tobacco Company and won’t get any payment. Terms of agreement are not revealed.

Smoking - nicotine-delivery system

“By removing the process of burning, developing a way of delivering nicotine through inhalation but without the hazardous chemicals, we might decrease the health complications and deaths related to smoking,” admitted Rose, who headed the initial tests in the 1980s which allowed to paving the way for development and commercial usage of nicotine patches as smoking cessation therapy.

“We hope that we created a technology that will help to leave tobacco burning in the past.”

Rose added that Philip Morris International, based in New York and Switzerland, will now focus on developing commercial products applying this technology. The nicotine-delivery system developed by Rose is different from the medical nicotine inhalers selling currently as cessation treatments since it delivers nicotine faster imitating nicotine delivery given by cigarettes.

“The other systems of nicotine delivery are not able to the satisfaction smokers they need,” Rose noted.

The agreement is an essential “step in the efforts to develop nicotine-delivery products that can potentially decrease the risk of smoking-related health complications,” Peter Nixon, Philip Morris International’s spokesman declared.

Nixon added that it might take up to five years to create a commercial nicotine product which could be used as an alternative to cigarette smoking.

The company’s shares gained more than 1 percent, totaling $70.42 after the agreement was revealed.

PMI move is the latest in the recent series of decisions by major tobacco groups to enter the market of smokeless tobacco products and innovative nicotine-delivery products while tax hikes, anti-smoking policies and social stigma contribute to falling demand for cigarettes.

In April, PMI’s main rival, British American Tobacco established a division named Nicoventures which will concentrate on alternative nicotine products. In 2009, Reynolds American, second-biggest tobacco group in the U.S. acquired purchased Sweden-based company Niconovum that manufactures nicotine pouches, gums and sprays helping smokers to quit.

“It’s a fact that people smoke to get nicotine fix and die from tobacco smoke,” states David Sweanor, a Canadian law professor who works with tobacco industry. The major question is, “Could you offer them nicotine without the tobacco smoke in a way that could be consumer acceptable.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working to make up recommendations for companies interested in creating what the organization names modified-risk nicotine products.

“Changing regulations are contributing to an environment where competition would move this market category considerably,” the scientist added.

Philip Morris International, the leading private tobacco company in the world, yielding only to China National Tobacco Corporation, controlled by the government, spun off from Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris USA, which markets Marlboro, Parliament and other brands.

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