Public health will benefit from business investments in harm reduction or non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes, according to a UK-based fund manager.
“I think there’s a lot of upside from industry investment in harm reduction, if we can move the discourse beyond that ‘Big Tobacco’ mental model and refocus the conversation on a more open-minded conversation and look at what consumers want,” Jonathan Fell, founder of UK-based Ash Park, said during the 8th Global Forum on Nicotine on June 18, 2021.
Ash Park manages the Ash Park Global Consumer Franchise funds. Fell manages long-term, high-quality investments in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. Prior to 2013, Fell was team head of the consumer equity research group at Deutsche Bank in London, where he covered the tobacco and beverages sectors, following earlier spells at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.
Fell spoke during the Michael Russell keynote titled “Investment in Nicotine Innovation: risks and rewards for public health,” and shared his insights on tobacco harm reduction.
Innovative non-combustible alternatives such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and Swedish snus are considered part of THR, a strategy that aims to mitigate the impact of smoking on public health.
“You can see that the market is putting a much higher valuation on companies that are making that transition away from combustible products. And of course, the companies and their executives notice that too and it’s reflected in the incentive plans of a couple of them,” said Fell.
Prof. David Sweanor, advisory committee chair of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law and Policy in Canada, said technology has shaped the tobacco industry, as more consumers are switching to innovative nicotine products that are considered less harmful than combustible cigarettes.