Responsible marketing

International Marketing Principles

Number of cases of partial or non-adherence to International Marketing Principles* identified through market audits and self-assessments

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
14 8 3 2 0

*Our International Marketing Principles were introduced in 2013, replacing our previous International Marketing Standards.

Conventional tobacco products pose serious health risks, so it’s vital that they are marketed responsibly wherever they are sold and do not get into the hands of under-18s.

All our marketing of tobacco products complies with local legislation and is governed by our International Marketing Principles (IMP) wherever they are sold, which comprise four core values:

  1. Truthful: we will not mislead about the risks of smoking
  2. Targeted: we will only market our products to adult smokers
  3. Trusted: we will not seek to influence the consumers’ decision about whether or not smoke, nor how much to smoke
  4. Transparent: 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.

We strive for 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.

Please see  for more information on our marketing principles.

Youth smoking prevention

Percentage of markets required to undertake youth smoking prevention activities that reported adherence to our global approach

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
98% 98% 99% 100% 100%

In addition to our strict requirement to only market our tobacco products to adult smokers, we expect youth smoking prevention activities to be conducted in all our markets where we directly distribute our products and where permitted by local legislation. In 2016, we achieved 100% compliance.

Markets are exempt from this commitment where there is political instability, where we only operate through a distributor, or where we are prevented from undertaking youth smoking prevention activities by local legislation – these represent 12% of our 2016 sales volumes.

Activities include working with retailers to prevent underage access, such as through supporting proof-of-age schemes, and providing training and awareness raising to shop staff. We also engage with governments to establish a minimum age law of 18 or to enforce tougher penalties for those that breach existing age-18 laws.

We are currently reviewing our approach to strengthen it further, including developing new Youth Access Prevention Principles to cover all our different product categories – from conventional cigarettes, to Vapour and Tobacco Heating Products. We are also looking to broaden the scope to include markets where our products are distributed through third parties. This will be rolled out globally in 2017.

Please see  for more information on our youth smoking prevention activities.