How is the tobacco industry approaching the emerging field of e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products?
Charlotte Barker |
Chris Wright, Head of Analytical Science at British American Tobacco (BAT) Group R&D (UK), has worked in analytical chemistry for over 30 years. Starting as a government scientist measuring dioxins in food and human tissues, he later spent 10 years at Unilever, helping to ensure the safety of the company’s food and cosmetic lines. Looking for a different analytical challenge, he joined BAT in 2008, despite raised eyebrows from some of his colleagues. “There were people who I had worked with for years who reacted angrily to the move. We all know that the tobacco industry has a checkered history when it comes to ethics and transparency, and I wasn’t blind to that. But I saw changes happening in the industry, not least a move away from conventional cigarettes and towards less harmful alternatives,” says Wright.
His misgivings were lessened when he met the R&D team at BAT and found them very frank about the dangers of tobacco smoking. “I heard countless statistics about the impact of smoking on health and mortality – there was no shying away from the inherent toxicity of tobacco,” he says.
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