Products and consumers

Products and consumer

As a global tobacco company we recognise the importance of manufacturing our products responsibly. We ensure raw materials and products are fit for their intended purpose, meet relevant specifications and comply with legislation, regulation and voluntary agreements. We are also committed to continually improving our quality management processes and performance, and extending best practice across our manufacturing footprint.

In addition to executing our responsibilities, we seek to ensure the sustainability of our business by focusing on consumer satisfaction and managing a portfolio of products aligned with evolving preferences.

Leadership and commitment

We have comprehensive Group policies in place to ensure effective and responsible stewardship of our products.
Policy and activities in this area are overseen by the Product Stewardship and Health Group (PSHG). The PSHG consists of relevant senior scientific, research and legal specialists. We also have policies covering product and process development, and quality management owned by the Manufacturing, Research and Development Director.

We have an ongoing programme of training workshops to enable management teams across the business to recognise and understand our responsibilities as a manufacturer of tobacco products. The workshops explain our responsibilities and the complexities and historical development of our corporate positioning on aspects such as supply and distribution, smoking and health, regulatory and legal issues.

Product stewardship and health

Our policy encompasses consideration of the science relevant to our raw materials, processes of manufacture and detailed knowledge of product properties.

In line with the terms of reference and standards set by the PSHG, an Assessment, Guidance and Permissions (AGP) Group, of toxicologists and other specialists, assesses the appropriateness and the acceptability of the ingredients we use in our products. The AGP also looks at packaging and contact materials in the machinery and equipment used in manufacturing.

Manufacturing operations are required to have processes in place to ensure compliance with AGP assessment processes to ensure that all AGP relevant materials are approved prior to use in the manufacture of the Group’s products.

Our scientific and research programmes are undertaken to improve our knowledge of both tobacco and tobacco consumption, so that we can develop products that may meet the future demands and expectations of consumers and regulatory bodies.

A central team reviews the scientific literature on smoking and its association with various diseases. We also sponsor academic research on relevant topics. Our views are based on the detailed work of scientific experts, generally academics of professorial status and practising physicians. It is our practice not to influence the results of this work or its publication in academic journals.

Product content regulations

Our policy is to ensure the products we manufacture comply with national legislation, regulation and any voluntary agreements applicable to the markets in which they are sold. Even in countries where no regulations exist, we make sure that we conform to similar standards.

This includes compliance with legislation, regulation or agreement that:

  • Impose limits on the levels of constituents in tobacco smoke
  • Require periodic measurement of the constituents in tobacco or smoke
  • Require the submission or publication of information about the quantities of constituents in tobacco.

Regular submissions are made to governments’ Competent Authorities on the ingredients used in our tobacco products which are sold in their jurisdictions. This includes the toxicological information which we have available on those ingredients.

Product and process development

We recognise the importance of investing in research and development, which brings innovative improvements to the Group and its customers, both in the products that are supplied to consumers and in production and marketing techniques.

We meet our responsibilities by:

  • Ensuring that new products or new processes receive appropriate assessment, patenting, evaluation and testing prior to commercial application
  • Ensuring that, prior to sale, any new product introductions into existing or new markets are checked for product regulatory compliance and granted AGP approval for ingredients contained therein

Quality and management systems

We are committed to continually improving our quality management processes and performance to meet the requirements of our customers and consumers.

Our quality management systems address continual improvement and consumer focus. Central manufacturing’s ISO 9001 management system provides our manufacturing sites with a framework for delivering Group business objectives, improved performance, compliance and sustainability in a constantly changing operating environment.

We drive improvements using a product quality rating system (PQRS), standardised test equipment and methodology, benchmarking of final products and quality improvement plans. Benchmarking through market surveys enables us to compare the quality of our products, and to initiate product and process improvements where required.

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