Responding to a Channel 4 (UK) documentary, Unreported World, British American Tobacco said on Friday that children were not, and would never be, its audience.
The company said that it, too, had been shocked to see the tragic situation of a six year old smoker whose mother had said he had been smoking since an even younger age.
‘We do not want children to smoke,’ BAT said in a note posted on its website. ‘Our marketing is aimed at adult consumers who are able to make an informed choice as to whether they smoke and which brand they choose.
‘It’s important to point out that we comply with all laws in all of the countries we operate in and would support government regulations prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the legal minimum age in their country.
‘We firmly agree that children must never be exploited, exposed to danger or denied an education. We make it clear to all of our contracted farmers and suppliers that exploitative child labour will not be tolerated.
‘British American Tobacco is a founding member and supporter of the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation – a multi-stakeholder partnership, advised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) committed to helping stop exploitation that deprives children of an education and risks their health.
‘Reflecting the ILO’s stance, it recognises that in poor communities, often on small family farms, low risk work that doesn’t interfere with schooling and leisure time can be a normal part of growing up in a rural environment.’
Category: Breaking News