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Reducing harm

Reducing harm

Why harm reduction matters

Tobacco harm reduction is a public health strategy that is about minimising the negative health impact of smoking. It is core to our delivery of A Better Tomorrow™.

Combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks. The only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit. Yet not every smoker is willing to quit.

Tobacco harm reduction recognises the important role that alternative sources of nicotine with lower health risks offer to smokers who may not otherwise want or choose to give up. That is why we encourage those who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch completely to scientifically-substantiated, reduced-risk alternatives.*†

Non-combustible products offer a compelling option for the estimated over 19% of the world’s adult population who smoke1.

We’re clear that we are shifting towards a reduced-risk* portfolio, built on outstanding products, informed consumer choice, and underpinned by world-class science.

We aim to:

  • Increase consumers of non-combustible products to 50 million by 2030; and
  • Grow New Category revenues to £5 billion by 2025.

Watch our Research & Science Director Dr James Murphy talk about Tobacco Harm Reduction and why it matters:

Our Approach at a Glance

Building A Better Tomorrow™ is at the core of our Group strategy, and we aim to generate an increasingly greater proportion of our revenues from products other than cigarettes, thereby reducing the health impact of our business.

  1. We are committed to providing adult consumers with a wide range of enjoyable and less risky products.
  2. We continue 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.
  3. We encourage those who otherwise continue to smoke to switch completely to scientifically substantiated, reduced-risk alternatives*†.
  4. We will track and share progress of our transformation.

We believe there are three key enablers to make this a reality: enabling consumer choice, substantiating the reduced-risk profile of New Category products through world-class science and advocating for responsible regulation.

Applying Best Practice Research Standards

There is broad agreement among policymakers and the public health community on the need for, and importance of, developing an appropriate science base to inform policies and educate consumers about reduced-risk products*†.

The science associated with tobacco harm reduction plays an important role within the industry in terms of building consumer trust in reduced-risk products. The purpose of world-class science is to establish whether products are safer, or less risky, compared with cigarette smoking.

We follow strict best practice standards for all our scientific research. These include standards set by the OECD and the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Group. We govern our clinical studies according to the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (2008), as defined by the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use and CONSORT’s Good Clinical Practice Standard.

These principles require each study to be publicly registered, recommend that its protocol is published and that a data handling plan is agreed before data is acquired. As well as following this guidance, we register each study with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number registry before they begin. We also require all collaborators or partners to openly acknowledge BAT’s role – whether it is funding or expertise – when discussing the work they’ve done with or for us.

1 Euromonitor International (2020).
* 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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