British American Tobacco’s (BAT) Chief Marketing Officer Kingsley Wheaton called for meaningful change in the way that global tobacco and nicotine policies are developed. He stressed the need for a United Nations-style “whole of society” approach to policy development and emphasized the benefits that this more stakeholder-inclusive tobacco harm reduction approach could deliver.
Speaking at the first virtual GTNF, Wheaton also outlined the progress that BAT is making in transforming its business and pursuing its purpose to build “A Better Tomorrow.” He emphasized how a focus on innovation, transformation and sustainability is helping to accelerate change.
Highlighting the positive role that the industry’s expertise and science can and should play, Wheaton set out a five-point framework to accelerate progress toward more effective tobacco harm reduction policies, including: an evidence-based approach, allowing robust science to lead to greater consumer choice, quality and confidence; proportionate regulation where science-based relative risk is understood and differentiated to guide regulatory policy; freedom to innovate to ensure products can evolve to meet changing consumer preferences; engagement, dialogue and communication to ensure regulators and consumers can make well-informed decisions; and responsible marketing freedoms that facilitate the acceleration of movement of consumers from combustible to noncombustible products.
“At BAT, consumer-led innovation and product science are central to achieving our ‘A Better Tomorrow’ purpose,” says Wheaton. “We aim to reduce the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of less-risky products to our consumers. We believe that a multi-category approach that includes e-cigarettes, tobacco-heated products and modern oral nicotine pouches is the most effective way to appeal to the diverse preferences of adult consumers around the world.
“However, the key to accelerating the movement of smokers to less-risky alternatives cannot be solved by our industry alone. We need a seat at the harm reduction table to discuss these issues directly and openly with all stakeholders—including regulators and public health professionals alike. Only through collaborative efforts can we develop effective regulatory solutions that will enable real choice for consumers whilst still serving tobacco-related public health objectives.”