British American Tobacco - Tobacco

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Quality products, manufactured to high standards and marketed responsibly

Our cigarette business is founded on understanding and meeting the preferences of adult smokers in all parts of the world.

Despite the well-known health risks, millions of people worldwide continue to enjoy smoking conventional cigarettes.

We never set out to encourage people to take up smoking cigarettes, or to smoke more. Our cigarette business is based on understanding and meeting the preferences of today’s adult smokers with products that are manufactured to high standards and marketed responsibly.

We continue to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks. The only ways to avoid these risks are to not start or to quit smoking. For those who still smoke, we encourage them to switch to scientifically substantiated, reduced risk alternatives. *†

How cigarettes work

Diagram of a cigarette

A standard cigarette has four basic components:

  1. Tobacco rod
  2. Cigarette paper
  3. Tipping paper
  4. Filter

When the tobacco rod is lit, the user inhales smoke through the filter.

The preferences of adult smokers guide the types and blends of tobaccos that we use in the tobacco rod. We do not add nicotine to our tobacco; it occurs naturally in all varieties of tobacco plants.

Food-type ingredients and flavourings are added to some types of cigarettes – typically American style blends – to balance the natural tobacco taste, replace sugars lost in curing and give individual brands their characteristic tobacco flavour and aroma. Other ingredients may control moisture, protect against microbial degradation and act as binders or fillers.

Filters are traditionally made from cellulose acetate fibres, known as tow. Recent innovations include flavour capsules in filters and tube filters.

The filter, paper and type of filter are all chosen to affect the sensory strength and smoke yield of the cigarette.


Innovations in our cigarette portfolio are an important part of our focus on providing adult smokers with a range of differentiated products to choose from. Innovations, such as new tube filters and capsules in filters that allow the smoker to change the taste of their cigarette, account for more than a third of all the cigarettes we sell. 

Why do cigarettes pose serious health risks?

The reason why cigarettes can be harmful to health is because burning tobacco generates toxicants in the smoke that is produced. Inhaling these smoke toxicants is the cause of most smoking-related diseases. (Read more about this in our page on the primary health issues of smoking).

Our cigarette brands

In recent years, our Group’s share of the cigarette market has grown consistently, largely driven by our five global brands – Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and Rothmans.

They have played a key role in our company’s success, accounting for approximately half of the cigarettes we sell worldwide. We strengthened our portfolio even further in 2017 when we acquired Reynolds American Inc. which saw leading US brands Newport, Camel and Natural American Spirit join our new Strategic Portfolio of priority brands.

We also have many international and local cigarette brands which, although not part of our Strategic Portfolio, remain hugely popular among adult smokers worldwide. They include brands such as Vogue, Viceroy, Kool, Peter Stuyvesant, State Express 555 and Shuang Xi.

Our portfolio also includes Fine Cut tobacco, sometimes referred to as roll-your-own or make-your-own, which despite being one of the oldest ways of smoking tobacco remains popular in certain countries.

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

† Our Vapour product Vuse (including Alto, Solo, Ciro and Vibe), and certain products, including Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, which are sold in the U.S., are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.

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