Youth access prevention

Our role in preventing youth access to our products

We believe our products are only suitable for adults and we do not want people who are underage to use them.

We fully support laws and regulations prohibiting the sale of our products to anyone under the legal minimum age in their country. We also believe that enforcement and penalties for breaking such laws must be tough enough to discourage anybody from selling to people who are underage.

A global approach

We know how important it is that our marketing practices should not undermine efforts to prevent the use of our products by those underage.

That’s why our operations in our markets worldwide are required to follow marketing principles which are globally consistent and demonstrate our commitment to marketing appropriately.

Our International Marketing Principles (IMP) provide detailed guidance on all aspects of our marketing of our conventional combustible tobacco products and our potentially reduced-risk products portfolio. Central to the principles is our commitment that our marketing is aimed only at adult consumers and is not designed to engage or appeal to youth.

Our activities

In addition to our strict requirement to only market to adult consumers of our products, we expect youth access prevention activities to be carried out in all our markets where we directly distribute our products and where these activities are permitted by local legislation.

Our commitment to only market our combustible tobacco products to adult smokers has long been supported by our global Youth Smoking Prevention (YSP) Guidance and activities for our operations worldwide.

In 2017, we revised and strengthened our approach further by developing new Youth Access Prevention (YAP) Guidelines for ourYouth access prevention operations to cover all our different product categories – from conventional cigarettes to vapour products and tobacco heating products.

We have also broadened the scope of our YAP activities to include markets where our products are distributed through third parties and strengthened the governance process for ensuring compliance.

In 2017, we conducted youth smoking prevention activities based on our previous guidelines in all markets where we were able to do so.

Our global approach requires all our operations in our markets, wherever possible, to:

  • work directly with retailers to uphold minimum age laws and our own internal standards
  • support distributors in providing training and point-of-sale materials for use by retailers
  • engage with governments in markets where there is no minimum age law of 18 to see one introduced.

The support we provide to our operations in our markets and to distributors includes training and point-of-sale materials for retailers to help them uphold minimum age laws.

Social media

We are clear that social media can only be used for activities that do not involve the advertising of any of our cigarette brands. Where we do use social media influencers for our potentially reduced-risk products, we have strict controls in place to ensure our partnerships are appropriate, and only ever targeted at adults. To this end, we use analytic tools to ensure that followers and audiences of these influencers are majority-adult.

How we are doing

See Youth smoking prevention  in our sustainability performance centre for the latest data about these programmes and minimum age laws around the world. From 2018 onwards, we will report our progress against our new YAP Guidelines, which came into effect in January 2018.