Tobacco products

We are proud to manufacture and sell a range of high quality cigarettes and other tobacco products for the enjoyment of millions of adults worldwide.

Smokers enjoy smoking for many and varied reasons. The pleasures of smoking include the distinctive taste and flavour of smoke. Smokers also smoke to relax or to aid concentration.

We believe that adults should have the freedom to enjoy smoking whilst being aware of the associated risks to their health.

It is the role of governments to provide the public with clear and consistent messages about these risks. We do not challenge these messages and support reasonable regulation of tobacco products.

However, we will continue to challenge disproportionate and unnecessary regulation that undermines the principles of adult choice and the freedom of competition. In our view, such regulation is designed to stigmatise smokers and to denormalise smoking. We strongly believe that adult smokers and smoking should not be treated in this way.

Since the 1970s a number of governments and public health bodies around the world have recommended that reducing the tar content of cigarettes could potentially reduce the health risks to smokers that are associated with their smoking. As a result, Imperial Tobacco and other tobacco manufacturers have been encouraged or required by law to reduce the tar yields of cigarettes over time and in line with these recommendations.

Many governments do not now support advising smokers to switch to lower tar cigarettes. However, regulations in many countries continue to require further reductions in tar yields and to mandate ceilings for such yields.

Imperial Tobacco offers smokers a range of cigarettes with different tar yields. We have always managed our business in a responsible manner, complying with all relevant government regulations, standards and guidelines.

We do not believe that further reductions in tar yield ceilings are appropriate, since many governments no longer support advising smokers to switch to lower tar cigarettes. In countries where further reductions in tar yield ceilings are proposed, we seek dialogue with the relevant government authorities to understand the reasons for these proposals.

We do not add anything to our products to make it more difficult for smokers to stop smoking, to make our products attractive to children or to increase the level or change the chemical form of nicotine in tobacco smoke.

Ingredients may be added to tobacco products during manufacture. Ingredients (for example, flavourings typically used in food) are used in very small quantities in some brands to enhance their overall flavour characteristics and aroma, giving each Imperial Tobacco brand variant its own distinctive style, in line with consumer preferences.

The term ‘ingredient’ also applies to substances in the non-tobacco materials that are used to make our products. These materials include the cigarette paper, the filter, the adhesive that seals the paper and the ink that colours the tipping.

Many governments regulate the ingredients which may be added to tobacco products and we comply fully with these regulations. Even in countries where no regulations exist, we make sure that we conform to similar standards.

We assess the appropriateness and acceptability of the ingredients we use.

We employ a panel of experienced toxicologists to carry out risk assessments on ingredients and to judge the suitability of these ingredients for inclusion in our products.

We make regular submissions to governments’ competent authorities on the ingredients used in our tobacco products which are sold in their jurisdictions.

We seek to maintain the confidentiality of our own trade secrets and those of our suppliers. Information on the ingredients used in a number of our cigarette brands is available in the 'What's in a cigarette' section.

Imperial Tobacco believes that no cigarette is safe.

We recognise that it is possible to reduce certain constituents in tobacco smoke. This may in turn reduce the exposure of smokers to these constituents. However, smokers should not assume that this results in any reduced risk.

No government authority has adopted regulatory standards by which one cigarette could be regarded as having less risk than any other. It is our view that the relevant government authorities should define the objective criteria and predictive tests by which products can be judged to have potentially reduced risk.

Imperial Tobacco has been an active participant in the development of potentially reduced exposure products for many years, starting with the development of New Smoking Material (NSM) in the 1970s. We intend to continue to develop products that might be regarded by government authorities as having potentially reduced risk. Although our work is commercially confidential we want to share our knowledge and expertise with governments that seek to make progress in this area.

We believe that a workable and effective regulatory framework cannot be developed without our knowledge and experience of tobacco products. As a responsible tobacco manufacturer, we consider that we share an obligation with regulators to enter this dialogue.

There is no such thing as a “fire-safe” cigarette.  Cigarettes are designed to be burned, and any burning item is a potential fire hazard.

Smokers should use common sense and take care when using or disposing of their cigarettes and other smoking materials. Careless use and disposal of any burning item can cause fires.

We believe the standard tests that are used to assess the ignition potential of cigarettes are flawed. 

By modifying cigarette design and composition it is possible to produce products that are capable of improved results in these flawed tests.

Some authorities have introduced regulations that require lower ignition propensity products to be made available, but it is unclear whether these reduce the risk of fires in real-life situations. Consequently, we believe that the term ‘fire safe’ is misleading.

We believe that the most effective way to reduce fires and fire deaths is through a range of measures including public education, fire protection and prevention programmes, the wider use of smoke detectors in homes, and by legislating for the use of fire retardant fabrics, furnishings and building materials.

Our scientific research and development programmes are undertaken to improve our knowledge of tobacco, our products, smoking and tobacco use, and the diseases associated with smoking.

We also monitor research in all areas relevant to a tobacco company, including mechanisms of the diseases associated with smoking. We consider requests for funding and make some limited contributions in this area. We do not seek to influence the results or the publication of such research.

One of the uses we make of this knowledge is to develop potentially reduced exposure products (PREPs) that might be regarded by government authorities as having potentially reduced risk. We intend to be an active and effective participant in developments in this area. We continue to seek dialogue with governments and other relevant authorities as well as industry experts to define objective criteria and predictive tests by which these products can be judged.

Some scientific researchers refuse to accept tobacco companies’ funding. This is a matter of regret as we believe the area continues to require the attention of independent, academic science

Imperial Tobacco does not commission or conduct research involving animals, and would not undertake such research unless formally required to do so by governments or by recognised regulatory authorities.

All consumers have a responsibility to properly dispose of their litter, whether this is cigarette butts and product packaging, chewing gum, drinks’ cans, fast food containers or any other items.

We believe the best approach to tackling litter is for key stakeholders, such as the tobacco industry, government, environmental bodies, business and local communities to work together to educate and change people’s behaviour.

We support local initiatives that seek to educate consumers and change their behaviour and attitude to littering, for example:

In the UK we print the recognised ‘Tidy Man’ symbol on the packaging of all our tobacco products to remind smokers to dispose of their packs and cigarette butts properly. This is a voluntary measure which has also been adopted by other UK tobacco manufacturers. Through the UK Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, we also maintain dialogue with the environmental charity ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns) on encouraging the responsible disposal of smoking-related litter.

In Australia we provide funding to KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful), an organisation that runs a number of campaigns aimed at improving the Australian environment. KESAB’s “Please Butt It, Then Bin It” campaign involves councils, businesses and local communities in a co-ordinated approach to minimising butt litter by encouraging behavioural change and through improving the provision of signage and cigarette butt bins.