British American Tobacco (BAT) Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Kingsley Wheaton, has called for a smarter regulatory framework for vapour products to help governments worldwide deliver on their aims for a smoke-free 2030.
Wheaton made the call during the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum 2023 (GTNF), which took place a few days ago.
He said there are five areas where more could be considered in terms of regulation, citing areas that regulators should explore and establish smart regulation that is right for their market.
“First, on-device technology and functionality: vapour products should be accessible only to adults. Both underage prevention and restriction is crucial. On-device technology, when applied and enforced across entire markets, could help in this regard. Second, more recognition is needed that flavours are an important driver of adoption for smokers seeking alternatives. However, flavours in vapour products should not particularly appeal to anyone underage,” he said.
Wheaton also mentioned manufacturing and import level as one of the areas that need considering to ensure that non-compliant products cannot reach the market in the first place.
“Fourth, where no restrictions exist already, regulators may want to look at who should be able to sell vapour products and where. Reasonable safeguards at the point-of-sale would help ensure these products are sold only to adult consumers. Solutions such as retail licensing and facial recognition technologies should be seriously considered.
“Lastly, enforcement and penalties: governments must wield their power and ensure consumers are purchasing legitimate products. Such measures should be rigorously enforced and those who fail to comply should face meaningful sanctions.”
“Let there be no doubt about what BAT stands for – a future where reducedrisk*† alternatives to smoking are embraced. A future where innovation thrives, and where millions of consumers are free to choose from a range of alternatives. We call upon governments, regulators, and industry peers to rally towards a sustainable and progressive environment in which these products are sold and marketed responsibly,” he said.
At the same event, Wheaton explained how BAT’s five-step plan for regulation could support achieving the right balance between harm reduction and the mitigating unintended consequences, including underage access to products.
The BAT leader further added that reckless players in the market need to be penalised when they do not abide by the rules.
GTNF is the world’s leading conference discussing the future of tobacco and nicotine, running from 19 to 21 September in Seoul, South Korea.
BAT is a leading, multi-category consumer goods business with a purpose to build A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of its business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for adult consumers.
The company continues to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks, and the only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit. BAT encourages those who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch completely to scientifically-substantiated, reduced-risk alternatives*†. In order to deliver this, BAT is transforming into a truly consumer-centric multicategory consumer products business.
BAT’s ambition is to have 50 million consumers of its non-combustible products by 2030 and to generate £5billion of New Categories revenue by 2025. BAT has set stretching ESG targets including achieving carbon neutrality for Scopes 1 & 2 by 2030 and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic and making all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
BAT employs over 50,000 people. The BAT Group generated revenue of £27.65 billion in 2022 and profit from operations of £10.5 billion.
The company’s Strategic Portfolio is made up of its global cigarette brands and a growing range of reduced-risk*† New Category tobacco and nicotine products and traditional non-combustible tobacco products. These include vapour, tobacco heating products, modern oral products including tobacco-free nicotine pouches, as well as traditional oral products such as snus and moist snuff. In the first half of 2023, we had 24 million consumers of our non-combustible products, a rise of 1.5 million on full year 2022.