Our core business relates to the manufacture and sale of tobacco products. We recognise that millions of people around the world choose to use our tobacco products every day. In meeting this demand we understand that there is societal concern in a health context and that we have an important duty of care.
We support our consumers and proactively tackle important issues such as the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products. We work to protect the legitimate tobacco market, which helps to ensure that tobacco products are sold only to adults and that criminals do not profit through illicit trade.
Being responsible with products is about meeting consumer needs and demonstrating that we have an important and legitimate role in meeting the demand for tobacco goods.
Tobacco regulation applies to product development, contents, manufacture, packaging, labelling, testing, data reporting, sale, distribution, display, marketing, advertising, taxation and restrictions on product use.
In addition we apply high standards to address quality, research and development and scientific assessment and regulatory submissions.
Please see Our Views for more on important issues including addiction and quitting, potentially reduced exposure products, tobacco and health and why people smoke.
We undertake research programmes to improve our knowledge of tobacco and product consumption. We do not commission or conduct research involving animals and would do so only if instructed by governments or recognised authorities.
We have an Assessment, Guidance and Permissions (AGP) Group. Our experts are toxicologists and other qualified specialists. AGP approval must be sought and assessments made for all relevant materials prior to their use in manufacture.
Regular ingredients submissions including toxicological information are made to Competent Authorities based on the jurisdictions where products are sold.
In the majority of markets, legislation exists in relation to the advertising and promotion of tobacco products and to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors. In addition to legislation, we have our own International Marketing Standard (IMS).
This sets out rules and principles to ensure that advertising and promotional activities are directed only to adult consumers. The IMS covers aspects such as style and content, health warnings, product placement, advertising media and sponsorship. Our standard applies to all countries and developing markets where regulation may be less stringent. We promote awareness through our advertising policy, IMS training and references in the Code of Conduct. This is supported by internal compliance.
We support youth access prevention programmes to help reinforce legislation, which exists in the majority of markets to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors, and to help ensure retailers remain aware and our position to only support adult sales.
The majority of our campaigns focus on retailer training to enhance their confidence and age of sales awareness.
Whether an adult chooses to use tobacco or not we think that their choice should be respected. We recognise that smoking has the potential to impact peoples’ personal environments and, as with all non-smokers, children should be shown courtesy and respect.
Illicit trade is fuelled by excessive regulation and excise increases. We are totally opposed to illicit trade. It deprives retailers of legitimate sales and governments of taxes. Counterfeit products are not made to the same high standards as legitimate products.
Organised criminal gangs also participate in illicit trade and use such activities to fund other activities to the detriment of civilised society. Criminals are also unlikely to respect laws such as those that prevent sales to minors.
We tackle illicit trade with dedicated security experts, working to gather and share anti-criminal intelligence, partnering with law enforcement and border control agencies, using track and trace technology and conducting forensic analysis. We work collaboratively within industry working groups and with governments through Memoranda of Understanding and co-operation agreements.
Our policy is to only supply our products to approved customers and markets. We work with customers to ensure that they are aware of our policy and their responsibilities to have control in their supply chain. To address supply chain integrity we strictly apply a ‘Know Your Customer and Contractor’ process.
For more information, view Imperial Tobacco’s interactive document Working together to tackle illicit trade.
LITTER AND FIRE RISK
We seek to encourage our consumers not to litter primarily by using pack messages. We have also promoted personal cigarette butt containers in certain markets. Biodegradable filter options are under consideration; however the control of litter is heavily dependent on consumers and provision of public waste facilities.
Cigarettes are designed to be burned and any burning item is a potential fire hazard. Smokers should use common sense and be mindful since careless use, or disposal of any burning item, can cause fires. In response some authorities have introduced regulations that require lower ignition-propensity products.