Ingredients added to tobacco all have specific functions in the product
The ingredients used in some cigarettes are the subject of much debate and are often misunderstood.
What are ingredients?
Ingredients have been added to tobacco since the 16th century. For example, Spanish sailors are believed to have added liquorice to tobacco as a preservative.
Ingredients added to tobacco products are not the same as smoke constituents. Ingredients are added during manufacturing and have a specific function in the final product. Smoke constituents are formed by the burning of the product.
Why are ingredients used?
Food-type ingredients and flavourings are added to balance the natural tobacco taste, to replace sugars lost in the curing process and to give individual brands their characteristic flavour and aroma. Other ingredients have technological functions such as controlling moisture, protecting against microbial degradation, affecting burn rates and acting as binders or fillers.
How are they regulated?
Governments in countries such as the UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and France have legislation or voluntary agreements, which list the ingredients that may or may not be used in tobacco products.
Our companies comply fully with laws and agreements in these countries and, for countries without published legislation, uniform standards are set for the Group based on the existing laws and on scientific assessment when applied to tobacco and foodstuffs.
Where governments have concerns about specific ingredients, we work closely with authorities, such as the UK Department of Health, to resolve them.
What about trade secrets?
As with many consumer products, precise flavourings used in individual brands are valuable trade secrets protected from competitors.
While tobacco companies maintain commercial confidentiality, we co-operate with governments in providing the information they need for regulatory assessment and we publish information about ingredients of these flavourings to provide quantitative information about them without compromising proprietary information.
We have Group-wide procedures to ensure to the best of our ability that ingredients used in our companies’ products do not present any additional health risks.
Some important considerations about ingredients
- In our view, based on the currently available scientific evidence, the ingredients that our companies use, at the levels used, do not add to the harm of tobacco consumption, do not induce people to start smoking and do not affect people's ability to quit.
- There is no evidence that smoking cigarettes without added ingredients reduces the health risks. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette.
- Ingredients are not added to make cigarettes appealing to children. The ingredients in some cigarettes do include sugars, cocoa and fruit extracts, but they blend with tobacco, making a characteristic tobacco taste distinct from the effect these ingredients have on foods.
- Tobacco products are not “spiked” with nicotine.
- Ingredients are not added to increase the amount of nicotine in cigarette smoke, nor to increase the amount or speed of nicotine absorbed into the smoker’s body.
www.bat-ingredients.com offers ingredients information for products sold by many British American Tobacco companies.