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Which vapes are owned by Big Tobacco? 2024 UK market update

Which vapes are owned by Big Tobacco? 2024 UK market update

John Boughey |

The UK’s tobacco industry is dominated by vast multinational corporations like Philip Morris International and Imperial Brands PLC. How many of these Big Tobacco companies are behind our favourite vaping products, and should we be worried?

In this article, we’ll discuss Big Tobacco’s latest investments in the smoking alternatives industry. We’ve done the research for you, and can share all the information you need to make informed choices. 

Vape brands owned by Big Tobacco

We were surprised at how few vape brands are owned by Big Tobacco. A handful of brands — mainly refillable pod devices — are owned by large multinational tobacco companies. Most of the UK’s best-known vape brands have nothing to do with the tobacco industry. Big Tobacco hasn’t made much headway into the vaping industry, although there are a few exceptions which we have listed here. 

Logic: owned by Japan Tobacco International 

The company behind cigarette brands like Benson & Hedges, Camel, Silk Cut, Hamlet and Amber Leaf also own Logic Vapes. Logic vapes are a pod-based vaping system. From what we can tell, kits are mainly sold directly through Logic’s own website — they don’t seem to be on many shop shelves. We haven’t heard much about them. 

Blu: owned by Imperial Brands PLC

The blu vape brand is owned by Imperial Brands PLC, the same company that makes Rizla papers, Lambert & Butler cigarettes and Golden Virginia rolling tobacco. Blu is best known as a disposable vape product and is typically sold in supermarkets and petrol stations. It’s probably the most recognisable vape brand owned by Big Tobacco.

Veev: owned by Philip Morris International

Veev is PMI’s vape brand. Veev has both a pod range — Veev One — and a disposable range — Veev Now. We don’t sell the Veev range at the moment, but we do stock PMI’s heated tobacco product (more on this in the next section). 

Smoking alternatives owned by Big Tobacco

As you can see, the world’s biggest tobacco companies don’t have a dominant position in the vaping industry. They are, however, investing in smoking alternatives like synthetic nicotine pouches and tobacco heating products. 

Heated tobacco products:

Heated tobacco is a new ‘smokeless’ way to inhale tobacco fumes. No smoke is generated with a heated tobacco device. Instead, processed sticks of tobacco are warmed up until they start to give off a vapour that carries nicotine. Here are the 3 brands owned by Big Tobacco:

  • IQOS is the heated tobacco brand owned by Philip Morris International. We’re currently selling IQOS on our site (shop our IQOS department here)
  • Pulze is a brand owned by Imperial Brands PLC. At the moment, Pulze is only sold in a limited number of EU countries (Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Bulgaria). It may come to the UK in future.
  • Ploom is a heated tobacco brand from Japan Tobacco International. This brand has been launched in a handful of UK supermarkets on what looks like a trial basis. At time of writing, their website has a store finder which lists just 94 stockists across the UK. 
Oral nicotine (pouches):

Most of the nicotine pouch brands owned by Big Tobacco are not available in the UK. In fact, most of the oral nicotine we sell in our nicotine pouches department has no tobacco in it whatsoever. Here’s a quick list of all the Big Tobacco-owned nicotine pouch brands that may appear in the UK in future:

  • Skruf is owned by Imperial Brands PLC — its tobacco-free version is available in Sweden, Austria and Estonia. 
  • Imperial also sells a product called Zone X which is available in Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Denmark, Iceland and parts of the Middle East. 
  • Zyn is owned by Philip Morris International. It is a tobacco-free product.

Can Big Tobacco be trusted to make good vaping tech?

For generations, the world’s tobacco industry made a huge amount of money from smokers. Millions of people lost their lives to smoking-related illness while these manufacturers profited. It’s therefore no surprise that most of our customers just don’t trust Big Tobacco to help them quit smoking. 

From our perspective, when we speak to sales reps from these companies, we always try to keep an open mind. The overall goal of our business is to help smokers to quit smoking. If the people selling cigarettes can come up with a way to help us with that mission, then we will always listen to what they have to say. As far as we’re concerned, a well-built vape is a good thing, no matter who built it. 

We also think it’s in the best interest of Big Tobacco to invest in vaping technology. Big Tobacco employs a lot of people globally. In the coming decades, as fewer people take up smoking and governments get serious about saving people from smoking, these massive multinational companies need to evolve or die. 

The reality is that Big Tobacco still hasn’t offered much to excite vapers. The grass-roots vaping industry makes better products than anything the tobacco industry has come up with so far.

Vapes and juices made by specialist e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturers taste better, work better and are more environmentally sustainable. 

Stay safe and happy vaping!

John Boughey

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