A need for science-based regulation
We want adult smokers to choose our products over those of our competitors. One of the threats to our ability to differentiate our products is ingredients restrictions or bans. Any regulation in this area needs to be based on sound science.
Some people claim that ingredients used in tobacco products increase the toxicity and are added to make the product more addictive and to make smoking more 'attractive'. The science, however, does not support this.
No country has banned all use of ingredients in tobacco products, nor would we support such a regulation. What we would support is the prohibition of ingredients in tobacco products that are shown by sound scientific evidence to increase the toxicological effects of the product, to enhance the pharmacological effects of nicotine or to lead to increased underage smoking. However, the scientific evidence does not support this.
It is important that any regulations to restrict or prohibit ingredients in tobacco products are based on the best available scientific evidence. The weight of evidence does not support allegations that tobacco ingredients increase the toxicity and harm, addictiveness or 'attractiveness' of tobacco products. Neither do smokers of cigarettes with ingredients display different smoking behaviours or find it more difficult to quit smoking than smokers of cigarettes without ingredients.
- There is no reliable or convincing evidence that shows that a greater toxicological effect results from the use of cigarettes containing ingredients when compared to those without.
- All tobacco products, whether or not they contain tobacco ingredients, have addictive potential. There is no scientific evidence to show that any of the ingredients we use in our tobacco products increases their addictive potential. Furthermore, the weight of scientific data does not indicate that cigarettes containing ingredients are more addictive than those that do not.
- No scientific criteria have been developed to measure the 'attractiveness' of tobacco products; a concept that is entirely subjective. Whether or not consumers prefer cigarettes with ingredients is largely a cultural matter, which varies widely between countries. Experimental studies are needed to objectively assess the attractiveness of tobacco ingredients, in order to avoid arbitrary regulation.
Exploding the myths
We want to stress that:
- All tobacco products pose risks to health. But based on available scientific evidence, the ingredients our companies use, at the levels used, do not add to the health risks of smoking. Nor do they encourage people to start smoking or affect a person’s ability to quit.
- Ingredients are not added to make our tobacco products appealing to children, and there is no evidence that they have this effect.
- Although ingredients in some types of cigarettes include sugars, cocoa and fruit extracts, they do not create a sweet, chocolate-like or fruity taste in the smoke. In short, our cigarettes still taste like cigarettes and not sweets or candy.
- Nicotine is not added to tobacco products – it occurs naturally in tobacco.