British American Tobacco - Our Scientific Research Director’s view

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Our Scientific Research Director’s view

As a business, we are at the scientific forefront

Dr David O’Reilly explains how BAT’s world-class science is driving our transformation

Science is the driving force of today’s society and scientists are forever pushing at the boundaries to discover solutions that will transform all of our lives. 

The pandemic showed us that science has never been more important to the way we live, work, and function. It protects us in ways that we sometimes overlook which is why, across the world, the work of scientists is being studied and celebrated with increased excitement.

As a business, we are also at that scientific forefront, demonstrating a relentless commitment to our core purpose – to build A Better Tomorrow™ for our consumers, society, employees, and shareholders. 

Despite the challenges we have all faced in these past months, our team has continued to focus on how science can move us towards that purpose and we invest over £350 million each year in R&D.

Through our dedication to science and diverse skills we undertake a broad range of activities, such as running COVID-19 testing for some of the local NHS services near our R&D headquarters, to generating new evidence about our products. This is the evidence that helps us to scientifically substantiate their role in tobacco harm reduction and, we hope, encourage and enable current smokers to stop smoking combustible cigarettes and completely switch to a reduced-risk*† alternative. 

Dr. David O'ReillyOur biotech subsidiary is also continuing its pioneering work on a candidate vaccine for COVID-19, which we hope can help play a role in fighting this global pandemic and its after-effects. It forms part of our small but emerging vaccines portfolio and sits alongside our candidate Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV), which is in Phase I. 

In 2020, we also announced our plans to go Beyond Nicotine, providing adult consumers with products to stimulate their senses. This coincided with the launch of our first CBD vaping product.

Our Science & Innovation Report  outlines some of the major achievements BAT has delivered through science and innovation. 

By reflecting on them, we can better understand our future and share how we are moving into a bold new era of consumer products, cutting-edge science and next-level digital capabilities.

We are committed to making a step change in our New Category products performance and in our sustainability ambition. Reducing the health impact of our business is our principal focus and we are also committed to helping address climate change and protecting the environment.

This is just the start, as I know we want to deliver more transformative benefits, proving how relentless we are in our pursuit of excellence, and our commitment to ground-breaking science.

*Any reference to ‘reduced-risk products’ is 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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without FDA clearance.