Philip Morris Snags New Smokeless Nicotine Device

Shares of Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) neared a 52-week high on Thursday after the cigarette maker said it bought the rights to a new technology that enables users to get a nicotine fix without inhaling smoke.

The non-tobacco, aerosol nicotine-delivery system was acquired directly from its inventors. No financial details were disclosed.

“The diseases caused by smoking are believed to be due largely to the harmful products of combustion rather than to nicotine itself,” said Dr. Jed Rose, a leading expert in the field of nicotine addiction research and co-inventor of the technology. “We believe this new technology has the potential over time to offer an attractive alternative to conventional cigarettes, thereby reducing smokers’ exposure to carcinogens and other harmful smoke constituents.”

The move adds to a string of recent initiatives by rivals to move to smokeless tobacco and other healthier nicotine products as health concerns continue to get pushed to the forefront and tax hikes and smoking bans threaten profits.

Philip Morris’ senior vice president of research and development, Doug Dean, said the agreement marks another step in the company’s efforts to develop products that have the potential to reduce the risk of smoking-related diseases.