Harm reduction in South Africa

We believe that e-cigarettes are a crucial part of a tobacco harm reduction approach and that consumers should have a choice about the type of nicotine product they consume.

While the cigarette in South Africa is still the most conventional form of nicotine, the e-cigarette market, although still in its infancy, continues to grow.

Globally BAT’s portfolio comprises combustible tobacco products alongside a range of non-combustible products.

Combustibles are traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes.

The Group’s purpose is 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 its consumers.

It’s widely viewed that the harm associated with smoking combustible tobacco products arises not from nicotine but from other components of the smoke produced when tobacco is burned.

While cigarettes will be at the core of its business for some time to come, the Group’s ambition is to increasingly transition revenues from cigarettes to non-combustible products over time.

There is a growing body of evidence that new category products pose significantly fewer risks than cigarettes – including from Public Health England, which recently stated that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than conventional cigarettes.

There’s no evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking and the vast majority of ‘vapers’ are current or former smokers. Studies done to date conclude that there is no evidence thus far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking.

We also believe that nicotine products should be regulated according to the level of risk they pose to consumers and importantly, that regulation should be evidence-based and follow sound scientific findings. We believe technical standards such as those developed by the British Standards Institute are a good model for regulation of this product category.

Ultimately, we believe that it’s up to consumers to use these devices as they see fit.