Can Big Tobacco Grow Again?
Last Friday afternoon, in a hotel lounge in Midtown Manhattan, I saw what one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies says could be central to its growth in the coming years.
It wasn’t a cigarette as we know it—those products, deadly for their users and detested by regulators and health experts, are destined for a long and inevitable decline. And it wasn’t an electronic cigarette, the trendy new upstarts in the nicotine business.
Instead, it was a hybrid of the two—a black, cigarette-shaped tube containing a battery and electronics. Into one end of the tube, users plug what looks like a miniature cigarette, a couple of inches long, paper filled with real tobacco.