PMI is committed to doing our part to help guard against youth access.

Here are some of the key things we do at PMI: 

  • Our marketing and sales activities comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and we have robust internal policies and procedures in place to guard against exposure to our marketing and access to our tobacco and nicotine products by unintended audiences, including youth. 
  • We support regulation to ensure that only legal-age adults can buy tobacco and other nicotine products and support strict enforcement of minimum-age laws and penalties for adults who buy for, or provide such products to, youth. 
  • We provide guidance and training to retailers to ensure they are aware of laws and regulations requiring the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to legal-age adults, and that they understand their role, even in the absence of minimum-age control laws, in preventing sales of tobacco and other nicotine-containing products, such as e-cigarettes, to youth. 

PMI’s Marketing Codes—helping guard against underage use 

Our Marketing Codes embody our commitment to ethical behavior and lay the groundwork for responsible product development, design, marketing, consumer engagement, and sales practices.

Reflecting our transition toward a smoke-free future, in 2021 we launched two Marketing Codes: 

    PMI Marketing Code for Non-Combusted Alternatives

    This covers our smoke-free products.

    PMI Marketing Code for Combusted Tobacco Products

    This an updated version of the code that had been in place for many years. It covers cigarettes and other products that involve burning tobacco. 

    All PMI employees involved in our commercialization activities must follow the appropriate Marketing Code and be trained on them at least every two years. Third parties we engage and who are involved in commercialization activities (including agencies, promotional staff, and call center agents, among others) must also be trained at least annually on the relevant parts of the codes and follow those portions that relate to the roles they perform. 

    The Codes are subject to a robust governance process under the responsibility of PMI’s Marketing Review Council. The Council’s role includes guiding the implementation of the Codes across the organization.  

    Our progress in preventing youth access to tobacco of nicotine products 

    • Youth usage is defined as a specific area of risk in our enterprise-wide risk management practices. This means that the risks of youth having access to our products and/or youth using our products are periodically (re)evaluated by our management at various levels of the organization (e.g., at market, regional, and central levels).
    • Our Ethics & Compliance department monitors the adherence to our policies on the ground and makes sure we adequately act upon any substantiated incidents of non-compliance.
    • Our Marketing Codes requirements also shape our creative materials, ensuring, for instance, that they do not contain images of youth-oriented celebrities or models who are, or appear to be, under 25 years of age. They also guard against product placement. 
    • We place our advertising, marketing, and sales materials in locations where at least 75 percent of the audience is reasonably estimated to be above legal age or at least 18 years old in markets without a minimum legal age.  
    • A fundamental requirement is that a consumer’s age be verified prior to any product purchase. Only those of legal age—or at least 18 years old in markets without a minimum legal age—are permitted to buy our products. 
    • We provide our affiliates with a clear set of requirements to follow when performing age verification in relation to both online sales, and sales in our branded boutiques. Each PMI affiliate must perform at least annually a self-assessment and confirm they comply with the Codes.  
    • Flavors can help adults who would otherwise continue to smoke to overcome barriers related to acceptability and switch completely to better alternatives. Our product portfolio, including cigarettes and smoke-free products, features a wide range of taste variants so it can adequately cater to individual adult consumers’ taste preferences. Flavored product propositions are assessed premarket to minimize the risk of adverse consequences, including appealing to youth and other unintended audiences.  
    • Moreover, our flavored product variants are named in a way that either gives no indication to consumers about the flavor direction (beyond tobacco, menthol or kretek) for combustible and heat-not-burn products, or is intended to be factual (e-vapor and oral nicotine products), avoiding names that could particularly appeal to unintended audiences. 
    • We do not own or control the vast majority of retail outlets that sell our products. However, we continue to strengthen our youth access prevention program for indirect retail. These measures complement local regulations for youth access prevention. By the end of 2023, markets representing 98 percent of our total shipment volume had implemented PMI’s youth access prevention programs for indirect retail channels, compared to 91 percent in 2021. These programs supplement our Marketing Codes requirements, which apply to every market in which we commercialize our products. 
    • We continue to make progress on our commitment to develop, test, and deploy a range of enhanced online age verification technologies for our e-commerce sites. For example, the Yoti facial analysis age verification tool has been piloted in five markets, with additional expansion planned in 2024. 

    For more details on our progress to guard against youth access to tobacco or nicotine products, please read the Marketing and selling our products responsibly section of our Integrated Report 2023

    We are making rapid progress toward a future where cigarettes are replaced by better alternatives, to the benefit of people who smoke, public health, and society at large. As we move forward in our journey, we will continue to strictly implement our Codes and practices and welcome the public’s feedback on the responsible commercialization of our products. 

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