News; Nov 27, 2003 CET

Firebreak tobacco chewing gum launched in Tokyo

DURING OCTOBER, Swedish Match initiated consumer testing of its smokeless tobacco product Firebreak in Tokyo. The product is a tobacco chewing gum developed within the Group and is the
first product of its kind in the world market.

The purpose of Firebreak is to offer cigarette smokers a satisfying alternative,” says Chester Anderson, Director New Business Development , who is the project leader for the new product. “The consumer surveys we have conducted indicate that smokers are pleased with Firebreak.

We want to develop, and offer to adult smokers, smokeless tobacco alternatives containing significantly lower levels of undesirable constituents, compared with cigarettes. Firebreak is a result of this strategy. The tobacco used in Firebreak, for example, is well under the limit values for undesirable substances that we established in our voluntary quality standard, GOTHIATEK®.

SO FAR, THE TEST LAUNCH is being conducted on a very limited scale in a district in central Tokyo. The aim is to improve the basis for decisionmaking prior to a larger-scale commercialization. Tokyo was chosen for the test launch due to the high proportion of smokers among the population.

The target group for tobacco chewing gum is adult cigarette smokers, and since Japan is the world’s third-largest cigarette market, where over 50 percent of males smoke, we believe there is a clear potential for the product,” continues Chester Anderson.

The launch was started at a central commuter station through which nearly 5 million passengers commute on weekdays. Since Firebreak is a tobacco product, it is subject to the same laws and restrictions that apply to other tobacco products. In Japan, for example, purchasers of tobacco products must be at least 20 years of age.

THE DEVELOPMENT AND TEST LAUNCH of the tobacco chewing gum is part of the Group’s strategy of being a unique tobacco company working in harmony with social and consumer trends by selling niche products in growing markets.

Firebreak should be seen against the background of our strategy of prioritizing organic growth,” says Peter Nilsson, Senior Vice President of Group Business Development. Some of our product categories are sold in stable or even shrinking markets in the West, which makes organic growth increasingly important.

With our focus on smokeless products, we are fully in tune with social trends. Cigarette consumption is steadily declining in economically developed markets due to factors such as increased health awareness and local restrictions. Given these factors, it makes sense to offer smokers an alternative to cigarettes.”