BATS is looking to drive consumption in emerging markets, while extolling the virtues of vaping and other “potentially reduced-risk products”, such as moist snuff and snus, the latter a smokeless, moist powder tobacco pouch that you place under your top lip. Latter-day chewing tobacco by the sound of it; a return to the spittoon, perhaps? Group chief executive, Jack Bowles, reassured that the “primary focus remains the health and well-being of our employees”. Presumably, the rest of us can make our own arrangements.
The bad news is that cigarette volumes in emerging market economies have fallen away appreciably, although not primarily due to any increased caution from consumers in the face of a potentially lethal respiratory ailment. In addition to the lockdown measures, some governments have implemented outright sales bans. BATS cited the case in South Africa, where officials amended regulations to prohibit the sales of tobacco and nicotine products, which are designated as non-essential goods. Some might take issue with that classification, but government officials were compelled to act due to the high prevalence of diabetes, tuberculosis, and HIV in the country.