News; Mar 23, 2006 10:00 AM CET

Firebreak – the smoke-free tobacco product of the future

Firebreak, a modern chewing-tobacco product previously only sold in Japan, is now available to Swedish cigarette smokers.

"Our consumer surveys show that a large proportion of cigarette smokers do not regard current smoke-free tobacco products, such as snus and traditional chewing tobacco, as an attractive alternative to cigarettes. Firebreak is aimed at these smokers," says Ulf Svensson, Vice President Information & Public Affairs, North Europe Division

Swedish Match is the leading manufacturer of smoke-free tobacco products in the Nordic region. The range includes snus (for example, General, Ettan, Grov, Catch and Göteborgs Rapé) and chewing tobacco (Piccanell, Red Man).

Modern chewing-tobacco product

Quite simply, Firebreak is a modern chewing-tobacco product. It comprises finely ground tobacco flour that is embedded in a chewing-gum base. The proportion of tobacco in the product amounts to 3 percent.

Like other types of chewing tobacco, Firebreak requires a special chewing technique. The user chews the piece a few times then allows it to rest in his or her mouth before once again chewing. Through this technique, just the right amount of nicotine is released each time the user chews.

The pricing of smoke-free tobacco goods is not controlled. A package containing ten pieces of Firebreak is estimated to cost the consumer about SEK 20.

Surveys have shown that nearly 85 percent of Swedish cigarette smokers want to stop smoking or change their tobacco habits. Swedish Match's nicotine absorption studies show that consumption of one piece of Firebreak per hour for 12 hours corresponds to the nicotine absorption from seven to ten cigarettes.

"Naturally, a great advantage with Firebreak is that the user does not expose individuals in his or her surroundings to passive smoke," says Ulf Svensson.

Survey conducted

Test-sales commenced in mid-week (week 12) at 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån stores, with a total of 400 points of sale throughout the country.

"In conjunction with the test-sale, we will also conduct a post-launch study to determine how Firebreak is received by the consumer and how well the product works on Swedish smokers," says Ulf Svensson.

"Another reason why we have chosen to launch the product in a relatively limited number of stores is because we want to ensure that the age limit for the purchase of tobacco is observed. It is clearly visible on the product's packaging and advertising material that it is a tobacco product, but we will also train staff in the stores."

The test-sale will be continuously evaluated and decisions will be made with regard to any increase in the number of sales channels.