Exclusive interview with British American Tobacco on the assessment of novel tobacco products, e-cigarette challenges and more

Ahead of his presentation at ENDS this June, we spoke to Ian Fearon, Principal Scientist and Head of Clinical Research at British American Tobacco, about his presentation on 'A proposed bridging approach for the assessment of novel tobacco products', the challenges of bringing e-cigarette products to market and much more.

Your presentation will look at ‘a proposed bridging approach for the assessment of novel tobacco products’, what will this entail? 

We believe that to facilitate the innovation needed to help realise the harm reduction potential of e-cigarette use over traditional cigarette use, regulatory frameworks are necessary that allow data to be ‘bridged’ from one product to another. There exists a similar process for pharmaceuticals and we feel that such a framework would allow innovative products to come to market rapidly while assuring their safety. 

You noted in your abstract that there are current challenges for bringing new e-cigarette products to market, could you share with us what these might be?

Some regulatory frameworks are already in place, most notably in Europe and in the USA. The challenge is in creating the large datasets necessary to seek regulatory approval for each product, and subsequently for each iteration of a product. We feel that a ‘bridging’ strategy would reduce this regulatory burden, enabling smokers to have quicker access to products with harm reduction potential, whilst maintaining safety and product standards

What do you think are the biggest areas being developed in the ENDS sector and why do you think this might be?

The ENDS category is rapidly evolving and new innovations are coming to market all the time. For example, BAT has expanded it’s portfolio into the Vype Pebble range, a unique product which offers something that looks very different to any vaping product currently available whilst also delivering a great vaping experience. BAT and other companies are also developing tobacco heating products, which heat tobacco instead of burning it but which still deliver nicotine and also have the potential to contribute to harm reduction when used as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Who are you most looking forward to hearing present at ENDS 2017 in June this year and why?

Beryl Keely of the UK’s MHRA. We feel that it is important for regulators, manufacturers and vapers alike to work together in ensuring that potentially reduced harm products are brought to market. The UK approach in general to regulating e-cigarettes has been permissive and a number of respected bodies such as Public Health England and The Royal College of Physicians have acknowledged their harm reduction potential. It will be great to hear first-hand how the MHRA plan to support the implementation of TPD2 in the UK.


Ian will be presenting as part of the "Testing standards, methods and potential harm reduction" session this June alongside representatives from Eos Scientific, CORESTA and Altria.

The session also features a panel discussion on 'Tobacco harm reduction and negativity towards e-cigarettes' with panellists including British American Tobacco, UKVIA (UK Vaping Industry Assocation) and Altria.

The Standard rate of £1,099 for a 2-day conference ticket is currently in place, but this expires on Friday 2 June so book before then to avoid paying more for your ticket!

Book your ticket now