british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Sustained engagement

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Sustainability Report 2010

We believe that tobacco regulation must have a foundation in science. With over 50 years of research experience, we can make an important contribution to that science base. However, we face significant challenges, such as maintaining our ability to engage with the wider scientific community.

There are continued attempts to denormalise the industry and by implication to discredit industry research. There are also some restrictions on the industry’s ability to fund third party research. These have made scientists and others wary about the prospect of engaging with a tobacco business. There is also insufficient public health debate around the issue of our tobacco harm reduction approach.

For this reason, our scientific research programme is supported by an approach that seeks to build relationships with external scientists and regulators and to address their concerns as well as to increase awareness of our tobacco harm reduction.

Sustained engagementThe scientific and public health communities

In October 2010, we hosted the CORESTA conference in Edinburgh. CORESTA is an organisation that promotes international cooperation in tobacco science. The theme of the conference was ‘Promoting the Scientific Basis for Tobacco Regulation’ and it provided an opportunity for nearly 500 scientists to discuss the necessary science on which tobacco product regulation should be based.

We had the opportunity to present the whole breadth of our research programme and, under the auspices of CORESTA, to invite government regulatory scientists to speak at this conference. We think this will have reinvigorated the industry’s efforts to engage with regulators on the scientific basis for tobacco product regulation.

We also attended and presented at several key conferences in 2010, where we made presentations on topics including toxicant risk assessment and smokeless tobacco science. We have maintained a high output of peer-reviewed papers and, in 2010, we submitted 33 papers for publication. We also continued to encourage debate in the wider scientific media and there were several articles discussing our harm reduction efforts in mainstream media around the world. We continued to publish details of our scientific research on our website Opens in new window.

In 2010, we funded NicoLIFE SA, an independent company focused on the promotion of tobacco harm reduction, in its production of a book, ‘Wise Nicotine’. The book is a commentary on the current interpretations and use of tobacco harm reduction within the medical community. We also provided access to appropriate company information to assist in the writing of a chapter specifically about the tobacco industry, which we reviewed for accuracy, but NicoLIFE SA had full editorial control. We hope that the book will play an important role in raising awareness of tobacco harm reduction among health professionals and smokers.


In 2010, we took the opportunity to engage with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, which is currently the only regulator with a mandate to evaluate submissions on candidate ‘modified risk tobacco products’.

The FDA’s approach is to create tobacco product regulation based on good regulatory principles through transparent and accountable review processes and in consultation with all relevant stakeholders. In 2010, we made two submissions to the FDA’s Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee, and its relevant subcommittees, on our research on harmful and potentially harmful tobacco constituents. We have previously informed them of our proposed scientific framework for assessing PREPs and have extended invitations to the FDA’s Office of Science to visit our laboratories.

In 2010, at the request of the FDA, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) considered nominations for a new committee. This committee will focus on developing scientific minimum standards for scientific studies to allow for the marketing of modified risk tobacco products. We hope these standards will, in the light of scientific advances over the decade since the IOM’s 2001 report ‘Clearing the Smoke’, give clearer guidance on the tests needed to assess modified risk tobacco products. We will seek to contribute our most up-to-date science for the IOM’s consideration.

We have also made submissions in 2010, both through trade organisations - The European Smokeless Tobacco Council and the Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers - and directly in response to the consultation processes on potential revisions to the EU Tobacco Products Directive and to an EU scientific committee evaluation of the ‘Attractiveness and Addictiveness of Tobacco Additives’.

External Scientific Panel

Our External Scientific Panel continues to give us important input in developing our research programme. In 2010, the panel met twice to discuss the results of our various research areas, as well as plans for future research and areas of science that might be fruitfully explored in order to accelerate our efforts on tobacco harm reduction. We are also working with the panel on the design of our next clinical study.

Sustained engagement: what's next?

We will continue to engage with regulators in an effort to reach common ground on tobacco harm reduction and present our scientific findings at international conferences. We also aim to maintain or increase our publications in peer-reviewed journals. Our work to increase the profile of our scientific efforts in the development of PREPs and the development of our PREP assessment framework will continue in 2011. In addition, we intend to further improve Opens in new window to facilitate greater input from the external scientific community into our scientific research programme.