Vuse products undergo a huge amount of research, development and testing to make sure they meet our high standards. But as you might expect, the science behind cutting-edge innovations is not always easy to articulate.
Marina Murphy has the job of explaining the technical wizardry of our scientists to the media – to help everyone (including us) understand how it works. We sat down with her to find out how she makes ‘the very complex, very simple’.
Blog Team (BT): Marina, welcome, and thank you for taking the time to chat to us and explain what you do here at Vuse. We know you have one of the most interesting – and busy – roles in the team.
Marina Murphy: It’s lovely to come and talk to you. Explaining things is what I’m here for.
BT: Of course! So, how would you describe your role?
Marina: My role at BAT is to profile our scientists and the research they do. This research, mostly from our labs in Southampton, is the foundation for the innovations that contribute towards developing new products. Our scientific teams also have a strong focus on ensuring our products are as safe as they can be.
BT: What do you find are the biggest challenges of articulating the science and Research & Development (R&D) behind Vuse’s portfolio of products?
Marina: One of the main challenges is that we're dealing with science. By its very nature, this means lots of data, lots of results… and lots of complicated terminology.
There's very little awareness of the depth and breadth of research that companies like ours do. Our work involves chemistry: aerosols, disease modelling, dosimetry (estimating or measuring the dose received by the human body of any active material) and using computer models to look at dosage and how vapour is delivered.
We also have materials scientists, engineers and more – so there’s a huge breadth of scientific expertise that most people would never have imagined exists at a tobacco company. That's part of what makes it exciting.
It’s also about helping people understand why we're doing something – what our objective is and how this helps make our products better. On a basic level, this means the biggest challenge of my job is to make the very complex, very simple.
BT: You've talked in the past about eCigarettes capturing the public’s imagination – why do you think that is?
Marina: The first patents for eCigarette-style devices were filed way back in the 1920s, with another wave being developed in the 1960s. But the world wasn't ready for them. Culturally speaking, we're now in the right place to embrace the technology of these kinds of devices, because we have technology all around us, all the time. We’re accustomed to it. That’s certainly a big part of the reason.
BT: How and when did BAT NGP get involved with vaping?
Marina: Our Next Generation Products (NGP) Team was set up in the early 2000s, along with a dedicated Technology Scouting Unit. Their job is to keep an eye out for – and to develop – the next big thing.
I joined the company in 2008. At that point, eCigarettes were still just this novel category which people in R&D labs were only beginning to pay attention to. They were at a very early stage in their development, so there was plenty of scope for innovation.
Being with our scientists on that journey over the last ten years has been a fascinating experience. The devices have gone from prototypes to cutting edge products, and our customers are really appreciating the results.
BT: What's your favourite aspect of your role?
Marina: No two days are the same. There's always something new to talk about, new people to talk to and new products coming down the line.
BT: What do you think sets Vuse apart in the vaping marketplace?
Marina: The quality. We want consumers to enjoy our products of course, but we also want them to have the reassurance that all our products have been through rigorous quality testing.
(You can read more about our quality testing here)