Harm reduction

With smoking comes real risk of disease. Our business is not about persuading people to smoke. Instead, it is about offering quality brands to people who have already made the decision to smoke. Our aim is also to reduce the public health impact of our products.

We know tobacco products pose real and serious health risks and the only way to avoid these risks is not to use them. But many adults choose to smoke, so the Group’s top priority continues to be working towards reducing these risks and making available a range of less risky tobacco and nicotine-based alternatives.

What is harm reduction?

In the world of public health, harm reduction is about developing policies to try and minimise the negative health impact of a risky activity without stopping it entirely. For example, advocating the use of condoms reduces the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. For tobacco, this means offering less risky alternatives to regular cigarettes for those smokers who cannot, or choose not to, give up smoking.

Transparency and world-class science

BAT is committed to exemplary corporate conduct and transparency across the whole business – this includes its research and development.

Being transparent about the science is central to this approach. Details of the Group’s scientific research programmes are published on a dedicated science website, www.bat-science.com  . The results of scientific studies are submitted to peer-reviewed journals, and scientists present widely at leading international conferences and events.

We understand that some people are sceptical about research conducted and funded by the tobacco industry, but we have a responsibility to contribute to the science of tobacco harm reduction.

Presently, British American Tobacco has state-of-the-art Research & Development (R&D) facilities and hundreds of scientists covering many different disciplines, working in collaboration with external researchers around the world, such as in the USA, Canada, Spain, Germany, China and Russia.

The Group actively encourages regulators and other scientists to visit its research facilities in the UK.

The future

We understand that harm reduction is a contentious topic where opinion is often divided, and that some people are sceptical about the motivations of a tobacco company.

We hope that the Group’s actions will demonstrate a continued commitment to harm reduction and that governments will carefully consider the potential benefits it can bring as part of a progressive approach to public health policy.

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