British American Tobacco - Manufacturing

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High quality products manufactured around the world.

We have a global manufacturing footprint designed to ensure an efficient supply chain and which is now evolving to support the roll-out of reduced-risk*† products.

We make high-quality products in manufacturing facilities all over the world. We continue to optimise our manufacturing footprint and at the end of 2019 had 45 cigarette factories in 43 countries. We have facilities that are making our new categories of reduced-risk*† products and are co-located with cigarette factories, as well as two factories producing modern oral products and one making vapour liquids.

These strategically placed factories enable us to maximise efficiency and ensure products are where they need to be at the right time.

Our production facilities producing cigarettes and the sticks for our tobacco heating products are designed to meet the needs of an agile and flexible supply chain, providing a world-class operational base that is fit for the future.

Our new categories of reduced-risk*† products are manufactured in a mix of our own and third-party factories. We expect our contract manufacturers to comply with the same high standards that exist on our own sites.

Recent factory expansions in Romania and South Korea to accommodate new opportunities in new categories, specifically the production of sticks for our glo tobacco heating product, show how our sourcing is responsive to help us deliver our commitment to offer adult consumers reduced-risk*† products. This complements substantial investment in device capacity, which is also taking place in response to increased consumer demand for glo.

We are continually looking to improve the efficiency of our entire supply chain. Our Integrated Work Systems programme is designed to maximise equipment efficiency while ensuring we maintain high standards of product quality. The improved equipment efficiency is delivering real benefits through improved productivity and lower maintenance costs, together with reduced waste.

Inside a cigarette factory

When processed tobacco leaf arrives at the factory, it is checked for quality and carefully blended with other tobacco and any ingredients that the brand recipe may call for, such as flavourings that balance the taste.

Keeping track of the various types of tobacco and blend components in use is a highly technical process and computers track production runs. Moisture content is also crucial. Too dry and the tobacco leaf will crumble; too moist and it may spoil during storage. The blended tobacco is treated with just the right amount of steam and water to make it supple and is then cut into the form used in cigarettes. Excess moisture is then removed so the cut tobacco can be given a final blending and quality check.

The technology has advanced dramatically over the years. Cigarette making, once done entirely by hand, is now almost fully automated, with the cut tobacco, cigarette paper and filters continuously fed into the cigarette-making machines. Quality is a top priority. Each cigarette is automatically quality controlled to ensure that it meets every aspect of its specification.

Packing machines put them into the familiar brand packs, wrap the packs in protective film and group them into cartons and cases. There is more testing at each stage to make sure the cigarettes are properly protected before the completed cases are ready for distribution.

Manufacturing resource reduction

Our factories use more energy and resources than the rest of our direct operations. The main environmental impacts at our manufacturing sites are carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions, energy consumption, water use and waste. We have a global reduction plan for reducing the use of natural resources at our factories, which focuses on:

  • Assessment: to understand where and why resources are needed and how we dispose of waste;
  • Reduction: to reduce resource use and emissions in the medium and long term; and
  • Replacement: to investigate, develop and adopt alternative methods and technologies.

Read more in environmental management and supply chain management.

* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.

† Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.