Reducing risk. Expanding choice. That's where Altria is focused today.
According to data from the FDA's PATH study, over half of adult smokers would consider using a tobacco product if it had a reduced harm claim. This equates to about 22 million adult smokers who are interested in less harmful tobacco products, particularly if they receive truthful and accurate risk information.
Our companies have a long history of leading the industry. Today, adult smokers are increasingly seeking new options, including those that address the harm associated with cigarette smoking. They also want products that address social frictions like tobacco smoke and the odor and ash that comes with it. Altria aspires to be the U.S. leader in reduced-risk products.
That's why Altria is investing in a portfolio of new products that satisfy evolving preferences and have the potential for lower risk. Through product innovations, we strive to give consumers the choices they want today — and develop new technologies for tomorrow.
The Role of Nicotine
Nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco plants. While nicotine is addictive, it's the exposure to smoke – not nicotine – that causes most tobacco-related disease. Smoke from the combustion of tobacco contains thousands of chemicals that cause the vast majority of harm from tobacco, including lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.
Tobacco harm reduction is built on the idea that adult smokers who do not quit should be able to get nicotine from products that are less risky than combustible cigarettes.
Many smokers find nicotine enjoyable, which is why reduced-risk products need to provide a satisfactory nicotine experience. We recognize that comprehensive regulation of tobacco products is necessary to bring these kinds of products to market and let adult smokers know about them.
In 2000, Altria became the first and only company in the industry to support FDA regulation of tobacco products. We saw this as an important step to providing accurate and scientifically-grounded communications about reduced risk products to smokers.
Today, the FDA has regulatory authority over all tobacco products. And the FDA distinguishes between the harm associated with combustible versus non-combustible products.
We fully support FDA's commitment to harm reduction and its stated goal to "encourage innovative, less harmful and satisfying non-combustible products for adults who need or want nicotine."
A strong public health consensus has formed that not all tobacco products present the same risk. Public health authorities agree that there is a broad continuum of risk among tobacco products, with cigarettes at the highest end of that spectrum. This continuum recognizes that most of the harm caused by tobacco results from the burning of tobacco.
Offering Adult Smokers More Choices
Tobacco harm reduction can only be successful if smokers find less risky products satisfying. And we know that not any one product is going to meet the preferences of all adult smokers.
Today, there are approximately 40 million adult cigarette smokers in the U.S. More than half of them are interested in satisfying but less harmful nicotine alternatives to cigarettes, according to FDA data. And we know that the U.S. market today offers adult smokers the most choice of diverse products anywhere in the world.
That's why we are focused on providing a compelling portfolio of non-combustible products that adult smokers enjoy, while conducting the necessary science to bring them to market. We focus on meeting three important consumer expectations:
- Superior sensory experiences and nicotine satisfaction;
- Reduced health risks and accurate relative risk information; and,
- The ability to avoid social friction associated with cigarettes, such as smoke odor, ash and social isolation.
We're focused on three non-combustible platforms. These include: