A billion adults worldwide choose to consume tobacco
Wherever British American Tobacco Group companies do business around the world, their marketing activities are governed by the Group's International Marketing Principles.
We believe in upholding high standards of corporate behaviour. We agree that the tobacco industry should be regulated, but we also think we should be able to communicate in a responsible way with adult tobacco consumers about our products, in order to grow market share.
Our International Marketing Principles provide a consistent and responsible approach to marketing across the Group. They replace our International Marketing Standards which were launched in 2001 and updated in 2007.
The Marketing Principles comprise four core principles which we believe are at the heart of responsible tobacco marketing. The rationale for each principle is explained and illustrated by a set of core standards which show how they should be applied in our communications with consumers.
The core principles
Our four core principles are:
- Our marketing will not mislead about the risks of smoking.
- We will only market our products to adult smokers.
- We will not seek to influence the consumer’s decision about whether or not to smoke, nor how much to smoke.
- It should always be clear to our consumers that our advertising originates from a tobacco company and that it is intended to promote the sale of our tobacco brands.
- Download our International Marketing Principles in full (190 kb)
The Marketing Principles apply to the marketing of all British American Tobacco’s combustible tobacco products.
We will monitor and audit our performance against the Marketing Principles and report our findings in the Group’s Sustainability Report.
Before we launched our original International Marketing Standards in 2001, our marketing had been guided for many years by our Group Advertising Principles. These had set out, for example, that any advertising and promotional activities by our companies would be directed at adult smokers, that no health claims would be made about tobacco products, that people appearing in advertising would not be, or appear to be, younger than 25, and more.
The launch of the Standards built on these further, incorporating further guidance to reflect the changing marketing landscape. In line with the Standards, we also exited from tobacco brand sponsorship of Formula One racing after honouring commercial commitments to December 2006, although not all our competitors did.
In 2007, the Standards were updated to include, for example, more detail on procedures to be followed for adult verification and the responsible use of new and emerging channels of consumer communication. The launch of the new International Marketing Principles in 2012 continues this commitment to ensuring our marketing guidance is relevant and reflects the developments in marketing, technology, regulations and stakeholder expectations
Auditing our companies’ adherence
Adherence by our companies is continuously monitored by our internal audit teams and reviewed by regional audit and CSR committees, which include Non-Executive Directors, other members of the British American Tobacco p.l.c Board and members of the Management Board. Global performance is monitored by the Board CSR Committee and reported in our Sustainability Report.
We welcome information from anybody who believes that any of our companies are not living up to the Principles. You are welcome to send any concerns through Contact Us.
You can find more information about our companies’ adherence to the previous International Marketing Standards in our 2011 Sustainability Report .
The International Marketing Principles are our minimum standard and will be applied even when they are stricter than local laws. However, if local laws or other voluntary codes in markets are stricter than or override our Marketing Principles, then we will abide by those laws or voluntary codes.
Where local laws are less strict we promote higher standards generally, as well as a level competitive playing field, and ask governments to embody our Principles or similar provisions into local law.