It is in our interest to have effective regulation of the tobacco market
Tobacco consumption poses real risks to health, so we agree that tobacco products should be regulated in appropriate ways. We support, and want to help deliver, balanced and enforceable tobacco regulation and we want to participate and support governments with advice on and compliance with effective future laws.
We would like to see effective, evidence-based regulation that meets public health objectives and enables our business to grow, but does not damage the livelihoods of farmers or retailers.
We believe that views advocated in policy formation – whether from businesses, NGOs or any other parties – should be communicated transparently to everyone. So the views and positions we advocate are reflected on this website. Some stakeholders have concerns that the views we publish externally and those we advocate to regulators ‘behind closed doors’ are not the same. This is not the case.
For global regulatory issues, the views we advocate are the same as those on this website and regulatory engagement by our companies is monitored by our regional audit and CSR committees. We also have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations set out in our Standards of Business Conduct.
In addition, we support best practice principles on the development of regulation, including the EU Communication on Smart Regulation and the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UK Better Regulation Executive.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
Increasingly stringent regulation is being proposed and introduced around the world, mainly driven by the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The FCTC contains provisions aimed at reducing both the supply of, and demand for, tobacco products. It came into force in 2005, and over 175 governments are now signatories. The FCTC provides countries that ratify it with a global policy framework for addressing tobacco issues locally. The governments that have ratified the Convention must consider how they will implement its provisions into national law.
As one of the world’s leading tobacco groups, we have offered our views on the FCTC over the several years of its development, although regrettably we have been given little opportunity to make meaningful input. At an early stage, the World Health Organisation publicly stated: “The tobacco industry, its trade associations and key allies should be kept from the negotiating process.”
However, as governments look to interpret the FCTC into their own laws, we will continue to offer constructive views and solutions and urge them to ensure those most affected by the proposals are consulted. We believe that there is much to be gained by including the responsible tobacco industry in the regulatory process, along with considering the views and impacts of all affected groups including tobacco growers, consumers and other related industries.
Our engagement on regulatory issues takes place at global and local levels. This activity is coordinated centrally as we develop global positions and help our companies improve their abilities to advocate our views. We also work with independent third parties on developing objective evidence to help inform our positions.
Read more about our views on key regulatory issues.