Sales and marketing

We believe that tobacco products are for adults and we are committed to marketing and selling our products responsibly, within the laws and voluntary agreements in the countries in which we operate.

Our International Marketing Standard (IMS) set out clear rules and principles to ensure that our advertising and promotional activities are directed only to adult smokers in all circumstances.
The IMS cover aspects of marketing such as style and content, health warnings, product placement, advertising media and sponsorship. In some markets, stricter local rules may apply.

All Imperial Tobacco Group companies and employees, and all advertising, promotion and research agencies employed by us worldwide must apply our IMS as a minimum, regardless of geographical location.

On a strictly commercial basis, we enter and seek to increase our market share for tobacco products in countries where we have identified an existing demand from adult consumers, and where it is legitimate for us to do so.
We are often asked if our strict standards are applied to countries and developing markets where regulation may be less stringent. In these markets, unless there are more stringent local requirements, our IMS takes precedence. We encourage governments and other relevant authorities to incorporate the practices laid out in our marketing standards into regulation or voluntary agreements, whilst respecting the principles of informed adult choice and commercial communication.

We have a communication programme to promote awareness, understanding and implementation of our advertising policy and IMS across the business. This is further supported by an internal compliance mechanism and central monitoring, including a monthly ‘alleged breaches’ report collated through our non-financial reporting system.

Download International Marketing Standard

Youth smoking prevention

We believe that the decision to enjoy tobacco products is a choice for adults. We do not want children to smoke or to use tobacco products, and have consistently worked with governments to prevent underage smoking.
We are active in youth access prevention programmes in several parts of the world. Our involvement is through government-approved identity programmes, such as proof of age schemes, working in conjunction with independent bodies and trade associations.

Customer relationships and risk management

We are committed to building and maintaining honest, co-operative trading relationships with our customers throughout the supply chain. This is not only good business practice, but also important in the fight against illicit trade in tobacco products. The prevention and elimination of tobacco smuggling and counterfeiting is a major business priority.

Our policy is to only supply our products to approved customers and markets. We work with our customers to ensure they are aware of our policy and process, and of their responsibilities to have good control in their supply chain.

We have a Product Supply policy and a market risk management process to further minimise commercial, personal and reputation risks. The process includes automatic screening of new markets and customers or changes to existing trading arrangements against updated real-time country and trading sanction lists, and includes the ‘Know your customer’ supply chain initiative.

We are totally opposed to illicit trade and are committed to working with governments and customs and excise authorities around the world to tackle tobacco smuggling and counterfeiting. As part of our partnership approach in September 2010, we signed a co-operation agreement with the European Commission and the Member States of the European Union to jointly combat illicit trade in tobacco.

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