How do they make low-tar tobacco

British American Tobacco Switzerland - Smoking and society

We believe regulators play an important role in mandating and disseminating this information about tobacco products. It is the task of British American Tobacco Switzerland to support the regulatory institutions in Switzerland by providing the required data and putting warning notices on all packaging and advertising material.

Necessary consumer information should on the one hand emphasize the health risks associated with smoking, but on the other hand also:

  • Point out that adolescents should not consume tobacco products
  • Reminding tobacco dealers of their responsibility to sell or distribute their tobacco products only to adults,
  • Encourage smokers to quit and offer assistance, and
  • Encourage those who do not want to quit to smoke less.

It also seems essential to us that the respective countries make their populations aware of those product features that are associated with the observed health risks. They should make it clear to their adult consumers, who can choose between several brands, that products with lower tar and nicotine content pose a potentially lower health risk.

In our opinion, the tar information on the packet is useful information that can also inform consumers about the taste of a cigarette. We do not promise smokers a reduced health risk from low-tar cigarettes, although there is scientific evidence that they could reduce the risk if people's smoking habits remain unchanged when switching to low-tar products.

We feel that internationally recognized standards, such as those developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), should serve to provide consistent tar and nicotine measurements. If a government disagrees, we believe it should disclose its premises and the data at its disposal.

Wherever we do business around the world, our company's marketing is based on our international marketing principles.

We believe in maintaining our high standards of business conduct. We agree that the tobacco industry should be regulated, but we also believe that we should be able to talk to adult tobacco consumers in a reasonable way about our products in order to increase our market share.

Our International Marketing Principles represent a consistent and responsible marketing approach across the Group. They replace our International Marketing Standards, which were introduced in 2001 and updated in 2007.

The International Marketing Principles encompass four core principles that 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 that outline how they should be applied in our communications with consumers.

The core principles

Our four core principles are:

  1. Our marketing is not misleading about the risks of smoking.
  2. We only stop our products in adult smokers.
  3. We are not trying to influence the consumer's choice of whether or not to smoke or how much to smoke.
  4. It should always be made clear to our consumers that our advertising is from a tobacco company and that it is intended to promote the sale of our tobacco brands.

The basics of marketing apply to the marketing of all British American Tobacco flammable tobacco products.

We will monitor and review our performance given the fundamentals of marketing and report on our results in the group's sustainability report.


Before we introduced our original International Marketing Standards in 2001, our marketing had been based on our group advertising principles for many years. For example, they had stipulated that all advertising and promotional activities by our companies were aimed at adult smokers, that no health claims were made about tobacco products, that the people who appear in the advertisements were or appear to be 25 years or younger .

The introduction of the standards built on this and incorporated additional guidelines to reflect the changing marketing landscape. In line with standards, we also ended tobacco brand sponsorship of Formula One races after honoring conditional business commitments in December 2006, although not all of our competitors did.

In 2007 the standards were updated to include, for example, more details on adult testing procedures and the responsible use of new and emerging consumer communication channels. The introduction of the new International Foundations of Marketing in 2012 continues this commitment to ensure our marketing focus is accurate and reflects developments in marketing, technology, regulations and stakeholder expectations.

Checking compliance with our companies

Compliance by our companies is continuously monitored by our internal audit teams and verified by regional audit and CSR committees, which include non-executive directors, other members of the board of directors of British American Tobacco p.l.c. and are members of the Executive Board. Global performance is monitored by the Executive Board's CSR Committee. This is also reported in our sustainability report.

We welcome information from anyone who believes that one of our companies does not stick to the basics. You are welcome to send us your concerns via Contact.

Further information on our companies' compliance with the previous International Marketing Standards can be found in our 2011 Sustainability Report.

Local laws

The International Basics of Marketing are our minimum standards and apply even if they are stricter than local laws. However, if local laws or other voluntary guidelines in markets are stricter than or override our principles of marketing, then we will adhere to those laws or voluntary guidelines.

When local laws are less stringent, we generally promote higher standards, a level playing field, and ask governments to incorporate our principles or similar provisions into local law.