Companies are required by law to comply with certain marketing standards. To date, six companies have taken this further by implementing their own supplementary policies but the level of granularity varies significantly from company to company.
The six top-ranked companies in the index, Altria Group Inc (Altria), British American Tobacco Plc (BAT), Imperial Brands Plc (Imperial), Japan Tobacco Inc (JTI), Philip Morris International Inc (PMI), and Swedish Match AB (Swedish Match) have marketing policies outlining the principles under which they operate. Of these six, Altria, Imperial, JTI, and PMI include specific, practical guidelines within their policies. Imperial’s ‘International Marketing Standard’ is an example of a policy that goes into specifics, providing tactical details on marketing in channels such as print, outdoor advertising, radio, television and cinema.
Detailed marketing principles and practices are necessary to demonstrate a genuine commitment to harm reduction.
The introduction and growth of reduced-risk products has encouraged companies to reevaluate their marketing principles. Altria, BAT, Imperial, JTI, and PMI have adapted marketing policies to apply to all products. PMI is building a new marketing code combining its previous code, which was geared towards combustible products, with its Good Conversion Practices (GCP) guide, which was for smoke-free products.
Detailed marketing principles and practices are necessary to demonstrate a genuine commitment to harm reduction. Principles and practices should be stricter and more specific compared to what is required by law. This is particularly important in jurisdictions where enforcement is not as stringent.