OVERVIEW

Our NGP categories include vape, heated tobacco and tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches. Our research demonstrates that all these categories have the exciting potential to be substantially less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

We’re building consumer and regulatory trust in our NGP by ensuring they’re underpinned by ongoing innovation, best-in-class manufacturing, the highest quality standards and rigorous scientific research.
 

Our NGP at a glance

myblu

  • NGP category: vape
  • Contains tobacco leaf: no
  • Involves combustion: no
  • Method of nicotine absorption: lungs

Pulze

  • NGP category: heated tobacco
  • Contains tobacco leaf: yes
  • Involves combustion: no
  • Method of nicotine absorption: lungs

ZoneX/Skruf

  • NGP category: tobacco-free oral nicotine pouch
  • Contains tobacco leaf: no
  • Involves combustion: no
  • Method of nicotine absorption: gum membranes

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

We understand society’s concerns about the health risks of smoking, and we also recognise our important role in helping to reduce the harm caused by combustible tobacco. Since establishing our first research and development (R&D) laboratory in the early 1950s, we have invested substantial sums in tobacco research and will continue to do so in the future.
 

WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?

From Combustible Tobacco to Smoke-free Nicotine Delivery

In recent years we’ve increasingly focused our tobacco and nicotine research activities on NGP development, enhancing our capabilities through external acquisitions and recruitment from multiple industries.

Today, Imperial Brands is a true multi-category company, inspired and driven by science and innovation. Our standalone science website explains the rationale behind our NGP portfolio, as well as important differences between each category.
 

WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES?

CONSUMER HEALTH

We understand society’s concerns about the health risks associated with smoking and recognise the role we have to play developing potentially harm reduced Next Generation Products (NGP)

YOUTH ACCESS PREVENTION 

Our products are for adult smokers only and should never be sold to minors.

OUR SCIENCE

Our products and innovations are underpinned by leading-edge science.

CONSUMER HEALTH

Cigarettes are a known cause of serious disease in smokers and many countries have stated aims for future generations to be smoke-free. Yet around a billion adults worldwide still choose to smoke and will continue to do so well into the future. NGP are potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes and therefore present a huge global public health opportunity.

Introducing Beyond Smoke

Our manifesto, Beyond Smoke, articulates our commitment to harm reduced NGP in scientific terms. It’s closely aligned with the public health strategy of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) which drives much of the research we conduct and the innovations we explore and develop. 

While no NGP is entirely risk-free, an increasing body of scientific evidence suggests they are likely to be significantly less harmful relative to cigarettes. This idea of relative risk is crucial as NGP are designed for – and marketed towards – adult smokers. Overall, it’s crucial to view harm reduction through a spectrum of risk relative to combustible tobacco. Explore more about the risk spectrum here.

Most NGP haven’t yet been available long enough to generate sufficient epidemiological data to examine their health impact over time, and we agree more research is needed into the long-term effects of their use. However, this isn’t to say we don’t know anything – far from it. 

There is general agreement among the scientific community that sufficient evidence exists to support the fact that exclusive use of NGP that are manufactured to robust quality and safety standards is likely to be substantially less harmful than smoking combustible cigarettes. These products therefore demonstrate significant potential to positively contribute to public health goals.

Encouragingly, leading authorities like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are increasingly applying THR thinking and strategies to their public health objectives. In other countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Japan, many regulators and public health bodies continue to voice their support for NGP and the positive role they can potentially play in improving global public health outcomes.

We look forward to continuing to engage with consumers, public health bodies and regulators to explore the beliefs outlined within our manifesto – and the way we bring these beliefs to life through our products and our people.
 

The Science Behind Our NGP

As a responsible manufacturer, we assess and substantiate the harm reduction potential of our NGP portfolio using the state-of-the-art scientific framework pictured. You can also explore in more detail on our dedicated Science website.

We uphold high product standards, rigorously testing and analysing our products to continually build our knowledge base and meet our duty of care to consumers, as well as helping raise standards across the wider NGP landscape.

We believe openness, transparency and collaboration enhance the scientific understanding of NGP, and invite critique of our science through the process of peer-review in international scientific journals, and the regular presentation of our research at international conferences. For more, read our case studies.

Continued innovation is equally vital when it comes to building both regulatory and consumer trust around NGP. In 2018 our innovation subsidiary Nerudia filed over 140 patents with the UK Intellectual Property Office for NGP-related technologies – making us a top ten company in this respect.

Nerudia was also among the European Patent Office’s (EPO) top 100 applicants in 2019, and the second-ranked UK company.

 

YOUTH ACCESS PREVENTION

Tobacco and NGP are for adult smokers only. We do not want youths to use any of our products and take youth access prevention (YAP) very seriously. We fully support YAP and minimum age restrictions for the sale or purchase of our products.

Preventing youths from using tobacco or recreational nicotine products is an issue for society as a whole to resolve. We play our part by not directing the marketing of our products to anyone under the age of 18, or higher minimum age where specified locally, or to non-smokers.

We are committed to the marketing and advertising of our products responsibly within the laws, codes of practice and voluntary agreements of those countries within which we operate. We have updated our marketing standards to reflect developments in technology and our NGP portfolio. Our commitment to the responsible marketing and sale of our NGP and conventional tobacco products is summarised by the following five Marketing Principles:  

1. We only engage with adult consumers of tobacco and nicotine products.

2. Our marketing is honest and transparent.

3. We give our consumers the information they need to make informed choices.

4. We will never encourage people to start smoking or non-smokers to use recreational nicotine products, and never discourage consumers of our products from quitting.

5. We respect the local laws, codes of practice and voluntary agreements which govern the advertising, promotion and sale of our products.

All Imperial Brands companies and employees, as well as agencies who work with us, adhere to our standards and local legislation. Where local legislation is stricter than our standards, this takes precedence, and where local legislation may be less stringent, then our own high standards take precedence.

We believe social media has an important role to play in ensuring greater awareness of the potential health benefits of NGP and agree with regulators that such communication should only ever be aimed at adult smokers. Instances of our employees and agencies failing to follow our strict guidelines are rare. Whenever we have been made aware of inappropriate social media use, we have immediately removed any offending posts and taken appropriate action after conducting a thorough investigation.

We work with retailers to reinforce the message that tobacco and NGP are solely for adults and encourage responsible selling. We support initiatives aimed at preventing the sale of our products to minors, including schemes that highlight the minimum age at the point of sale and relevant training for our trade partners. In Germany for example, one of our most important markets, the German Federal Association of Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE) and its member companies, including Imperial, advocate effective enforcement of the sales age of 18 for nicotine products. To support our trade partners to achieve this, the BVTE is managing an e-learning tool. For more details read our case studies.
 

SCIENCE

Our products and innovations are underpinned by leading-edge science.

Visit our Science website

NEXT GENERATION PRODUCTS

We recognise the important role we can play in helping to reduce the harm caused by combustible tobacco products.

CASE STUDIES

Our case studies showcase our progress against our sustainability strategy.