British American Tobacco Marketing Principles Assignments

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We agree that our industry should be regulated, but we also think we should be able to communicate in a responsible way with adult consumers about our tobacco and nicotine products.

For a business like ours, it is imperative that we provide clear and meaningful information about the different risk profiles of our products to help consumers make informed choices.

Ensuring we market our products responsibly to adult consumers only is also key.

Our core marketing principles

For conventional tobacco products such as cigarettes, which pose such serious health risks, our marketing is governed by our International Marketing Principles wherever they are sold around the world, often going beyond local legal requirements.

The International Marketing Principles comprise four core principles which we believe are at the heart of responsible marketing of conventional tobacco products. The rationale for each principle is explained and illustrated by a set of core standards, which show how they should be applied in our communications with consumers.

Our four key marketing principles are:

  1. We will not mislead about the risks of smoking.
  2. We will only market our products to adult smokers.
  3. We will not seek to influence the consumer’s decision about whether or not to smoke, nor how much to smoke.
  4. It should always be clear to our consumers that our advertising originates from a tobacco company and that it is intended to promote the sale of our tobacco brands. 

International Marketing Principles (472 kb) 

The International Marketing Principles are our minimum standard and will be applied even when they are stricter than local laws. However, if local laws or other voluntary codes in markets are stricter than or override our Marketing Principles, then we will abide by those laws or voluntary codes.

Where local laws are less strict we promote higher standards generally, as well as a level competitive playing field, and ask governments to embody our Principles or similar provisions into local law.

Monitoring adherence

We are committed to 100% IMP compliance worldwide. All our marketing materials have to be formally reviewed and approved by our Legal and External Affairs function and we provide training to our marketing employees and trade representatives, as well as any external agencies we work with, to ensure they are effectively applied.

In 2016, no incidents of IMP non-compliance were identified through our internal procedures. There were, however, four external allegations made about our marketing practices in relation to local tobacco control and advertising laws. We conducted detailed investigations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. Where any instances of non-compliance are identified, immediate action plans are put in place to address them.

We welcome information from anybody who believes that any of our companies are not living up to the Principles. You are welcome to send any concerns through Contact us.

Youth access prevention

We are very clear that our marketing is aimed only at adult consumers of our products and is not designed to engage or appeal to youth. Our global approach to youth access prevention to our products focuses on engagement with governments to adopt minimum age laws of 18 for tobacco sales where none exist and, where they do, to effectively enforce them.

We also work directly with retailers, to raise awareness of underage smoking and demonstrate why simple things like asking for proof of age can make such a difference in helping to uphold minimum age laws.

We also support distributors by providing them with training and point-of-sale materials for use by retailers.

In 2017, we strengthened our approach further by developing new Youth Access Prevention Guidelines for our operations worldwide to cover different product categories – from conventional cigarettes to Vapour Products and Tobacco Heating Products.

Vapour Products: upholding high standards

With all our Vapour Products (e-cigarettes), we have voluntarily adopted appropriate warnings on all our packaging and a robust approach to manufacturing quality and product assessment, including for all ingredients and flavours.

Our Vapour Products Marketing Principles provide a responsible and consistent approach to all of our marketing activities for this important category

Our four core principles are:

  • We will target our Vapour Product marketing at adults
  • We will market our Vapour Products to smokers and consumers of vapour and nicotine products
  • We will be clear and factual about our Vapour Products and their potential risks
  • We will not promote combustible tobacco products through our Vapour Product marketing

Vapour Products Marketing Principles (212 kb) 

How is it different for Swedish snus?

Snus is finely-ground moist tobacco that comes either loose or in tiny pouches, which are placed under the upper lip. It contains nicotine in similar quantities to cigarettes.

We believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a less restrictive regime for snus, on the basis of its potentially lower health risk when compared to cigarettes. A separate set of marketing standards have been introduced specifically for snus.

Our Snus Marketing Standards (215 kb) 

We continue to seek dialogue with regulators and health authorities about how the attributes of potentially less harmful products might be communicated to consumers.

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