A research scientist in one of our machine smoking laboratories
Tobacco consumption poses real and serious risks to health, so our research and development activities are principally focused on better understanding the harm caused by tobacco use and working to develop potentially less harmful products.
The science involved in this work is complex, extremely challenging and spans many scientific disciplines. We have significantly expanded our research capabilities over the past few years to reflect the importance we place on work in this area. We are also committed to seeking guidance from independent scientific and regulatory bodies.
Some organisations concerned about smoking and health are sceptical about our approach and our motives, but some critics of the tobacco industry are now supporting the objective of being able to offer adult consumers a range of tobacco products both acceptable to them and recognised by independent scientists and regulators as posing reduced risks to health.
Our research centres
Dr. David O’Reilly,
Group Scientific Director
Our Group Research and Development Centre laboratories are based in the UK in Southampton and Cambridge.
We have had a research and development centre in Southampton for more than 50 years. In that time we have focused on understanding cigarette smoke chemistry, identifying its toxic constituents (known as toxicants), understanding smoking behaviour and trying to develop products with lower levels of toxicants in the smoke.
The research conducted by our Group also includes work undertaken in collaboration with external researchers in countries around the world, for example, the USA, Italy, Brazil and Russia.
In October 2011, the European Commission released its 2011 “EU Industrial R&D Investment Scorecard.” British American Tobacco climbed ten places and is now ranked in the top 10% of EU companies. We are ranked 15th in its list of top UK companies and we remain in first position in the EU tobacco sector.
We also have a science website, written by scientists for scientists with an interest in tobacco-related research or related disciplines.
As David O'Reilly, our Group Scientific Director, explains: "We welcome comments from the scientific community on our science website and are pleased to discuss our science or possible collaboration with other scientists working in related areas."