Ecigarette ads subject to host of new rules from advertising watchdog

Guy Bentley
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This is the first-time ecigarettes will be subject to specific UK rules (Source: Getty)

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has published new rules for governing the advertising of ecigarettes, which will come into force on 10 November.

The new rule are intended to protect young people from the promotion of tobacco products and ads that show "the use of a tobacco product in a positive light". The rapid growth of ecigarettes has elicited a mixed response from politicians, economists and public health professionals.

Advertising a been a key battleground with the different sides clashing over whether current ecigarette advertising is intended to appeal to the young rather than older smokers looking to quit.

This is the first-time ecigarettes will be subject to specific rules in the UK as well as general advertising rules. Legislation on ecigarette promotion does not come into force until 2016.

Under the new rules, ecigarettess will face scheduling restrictions on TV and radio to limit the chance of them being seen by children. Perhaps most importantly for ecigarette marketing, producers of ecigarettes will not be allowed to communicate any health benefits of the product unless they gain the approval of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Here is a summary of the CAP's new regulations:

  • Ads must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
  • People shown using ecigarettes or playing a significant role must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25
  • Ads must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear
  • Ads must not encourage non-smokers or non-nicotine users to use ecigarettes
  • Ads must make clear that the product is an e-cigarette and not a tobacco product

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