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Youth smoking prevention

Working on the front line

We believe that tobacco products are only suitable for adult consumers and we do not want children to smoke.

We fully support laws and regulations prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the legal minimum age in their country. We also believe that enforcement and penalties for breaking such laws must be tough enough to discourage anybody from selling to the underage. 

A global approach

We know how important it is that our marketing practices should not undermine efforts to combat underage smoking.

That’s why our companies are required to follow our strict International Marketing Principles, which are globally consistent and demonstrate our commitment to marketing appropriately and only to adult tobacco consumers.

We also require all our Group companies to:

  • engage with governments to establish a minimum age law of 18 where none exists
  • raise retailers’ awareness of minimum age laws in their country.

Our activities

In addition to our strict requirement to only market our tobacco products to adult smokers, we expect youth smoking prevention activities to be carried out in all our markets where we directly distribute our products and where these activities are permitted by local legislation. In 2016, we achieved this in all these types of markets.

Our activities include working with retailers to prevent underage access, such as through supporting proof-of-age schemes, and providing training and awareness raising to shop staff. We also engage with governments to establish a minimum age law of 18 or to enforce tougher penalties for those that breach existing age -18 laws.

We are currently reviewing our approach to strengthen it further, including developing new Youth Access Prevention Principles to cover all our different product categories – from conventional cigarettes to Vapour and Tobacco Heating Products. We are also looking to broaden the scope to include markets where our products are distributed through third parties. This will be rolled out globally in 2017.

How we are doing

See Youth smoking prevention  in our sustainability performance centre for the latest data about these programmes and minimum age laws around the world.