THE major Southampton employer British American Tobacco is looking at introducing cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis flavoured vape products as smokers turn away from traditional cigarettes.

BAT has 1,200 staff in Southampton, where its research facility is “evaluating” the possibility of using the flavourings.

The company, which sells Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Benson & Hedges, has come under pressure to win over more vaping customers as cigarette sales dwindle.

Allen Griffiths, head of reduced risk substantiation at the Southampton research site, told PA it was looking at the “science and regulations” of potentially using CBD and cannabis flavourings but said it was not “actively pursuing” usage.

“It is only right for us to evaluate the science in that space and the regulatory frameworks that exist,” he said.

“At the minute it is very much a watching brief of what is happening in that area but we are monitoring it closely.”

BAT’s Southampton research site is focused on its vaping, heated tobacco and oral tobacco products.

The company sells the vape brands Vype and Vuse

It comes days after the US started its ban on popular e-cigarette flavours in a move health regulators hope will curb teenage vaping.

BAT has previously welcomed the ban but said in November that it would cut around 2,300 jobs worldwide in an overhaul to invest in vaping and new products.

Last week, rival Imperial Brands warned its earnings would fall in 2020 as part of the US crackdown, which have dented its efforts to move away from traditional cigarettes.

The new US measures come after the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) said 47 deaths in the country were most likely to have been caused by vaping.

Mr Griffiths said that his team at the Southampton site were in constant communication with regulators to make sure its vaping products were as safe as possible.

He said: “We want to provide all the information we possibly can to ensure that regulation is robust and that consumers are not going to be compromised.

“Our products do meet the rigorous standards that are demanded across the world.

“We want to support regulators to ensure that, if there is any information we can provide, it will be provided.

“BAT’s approach is one for open dialogue.”