U.K. tobacco and cigarette giant Imperial Brands PLC (IMBBY) looks to be changing its course after reporting weak interim results on Wednesday for the six-month period ended March 31.

Imperial, arguably the least diversified of the major tobacco companies, posted global tobacco volumes down more than the industry’s average in the most recent six-month period. A decline of nearly 6% accelerated from a 3.1% decline in the same period last year.

In response to declining smoking rates and increased regulatory pressure, Imperial’s competitors such as Philip Morris International Inc. (PM), British American Tobacco Inc. (BTI) and Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) have built out their research and development (R&D) initiatives while launching new “smokeless,” alternative tobacco products and e-cigarettes. (See also: 'War of Innovation' Rages in Tobacco Industry.)

Doubling Down, and Diversifying

Now, Imperial hopes it’s not too late to jump aboard the train, as it announces plans to launch its own tobacco-free products this year and grab a share of the high-growth $6 billion e-vapor market, expected to reach $30 billion in the next seven years. Along with doubling down on new smoking products, such as those under its Blu Brand, Chief Development Officer Matthew Phillips says the company will launch caffeine energy products.

Imperial says it will continue to invest in its low-calorie, energy-boost product called Reon, designed as a strip that melts in your mouth. In larger efforts to diversify, offerings may include powders and liquids, along with unique flavorings such as pomegranate and chili-flavored melting caffeine powders. Strict “plain packaging” rules at home for cigarettes could also raise prospects for the U.K.-based company’s non-tobacco items.

While Imperial lags behind its rivals on the innovation front, the company has been strategizing to diversify away from tobacco in the recent period. Last year, Imperial, the third-largest cigarette company in America, removed the word tobacco from its name. (See also: Behind Tobacco Stocks’ Recent Strength.)

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