Reducing the health impact of our business

Our principal Sustainability Agenda focus area

We are committed, as our principal focus area, to reducing the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for our consumers.

New category alternatives to cigarettes, such as vapour, tobacco heating and modern oral products, already have an estimated 68 million consumers worldwide.

They provide options for the estimated 19% of the world’s population who continue to smoke to switch away from cigarettes.

To succeed in this, the following key enablers need to be in place: consumer choice; world-class science; standards and regulation.

Consumer choice

We have a clear purpose to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of our business.

This entails:

  • Committing to providing adult consumers with a wide range of enjoyable and less risky products
  • Continuing to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks, and the only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit
  • Encouraging those who otherwise continue to smoke, to switch completely to scientifically-substantiated, reduced-risk alternative
  • Tracking and sharing progress of our transformation.

As such, alongside our traditional cigarette products, our  broad portfolio of non-combustible products includes potentially reduced- risk alternatives such as vapour products,and tobacco heating products, and modern oral nicotine pouches, as well as traditional oral products such as snus and moist snuff.

Our ambition is to have 50 million consumers of our non-combustible products by 2030 and to accelerate the growth of our New Category revenues at a faster rate than our total revenue, reaching £5 billion in 2025.

To achieve this, we are developing a deep understanding of our consumers and anticipate trends with powerful foresights, data and analytics. We make significant investments in research and development to deliver innovations that satisfy consumer tastes and generate growth for the business. And we’re opening up to radical new ideas and seeking out the inventiveness of others through strategic investments and partnerships.

Since launching our first vapour products in the UK in 2013, we have made significant progress in developing, manufacturing and commercialising a range of new category products. Today, our new category products are available in 48 markets globally. Read more here.

  • Comprehensive details of how we’re enabling consumer choice through our range of new category products can be found in our 2019 ESG Report (3.8 mb) .

World-class science

We apply our peer-reviewed scientific framework to assess the emissions, exposure and risk of our products. Product safety standards go hand-in-hand with sound science – we scrutinise all the ingredients and our products benefit from thousands of hours of testing before they reach the consumer.

We openly share our science, publish our findings in peer-reviewed journals, present at conferences and to government advisory committees. We also publish comprehensive details of our research programme on our dedicated  website.

To date, we have published 59 peer-reviewed papers on new category products. The results indicate that our products have the potential to be significantly less risky than cigarettes and we’re continuing to establish more evidence to support this. In 2019, we presented at 32 scientific conferences and meetings and we will publish our biennial Science & Technology Report later in 2020.

  • Full details of our scientific framework and findings of our research, as well as the growing independent evidence-base, can be found in our 2019 ESG Report (3.8 mb) .

Standards and regulation

We follow strict standards for product safety and for ensuring all our product marketing worldwide is aimed only at adult consumers and does not engage or appeal to youth. We openly share our approach and advocate for industry-wide standards and regulation.

We think regulation of new category products should enable market availability, apply the highest quality and safety standards, allow communication of the potential benefits and risks, and ensure affordability for consumers by taxing them appropriately – all the while preventing youth appeal and access.

We’ve evolved our International Marketing Principles and Youth Access Prevention Guidelines to reflect our multi-category portfolio. We’ve openly shared our approach to product stewardship and have worked as part of multi-stakeholder groups on the development of industry-wide standards, including with the British Standards Institute , the EU Standards body (CEN)  technical committee and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) .

  • Find out more about our regulatory engagement and views on an effective regulatory framework for new category products that is based on relative risks in our 2019 ESG Report (3.8 mb) .