The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP), the sister body of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) responsible for writing the UK advertising code, is getting ready to come down on the e-cigarette industry by developing a new “clear” set of advertising rules for the sector.
CAP admits that current advertising rules were not intended nor designed to regulate the reasonably new product, subjecting some e-cigarette ads to be “caught” by codes of conduct intended towards tobacco advertisement.
In the past few months there has been a ribbon of advertising from e-cig companies – some which have fallen foul of advertising code and subsequently banned by the ASA.
The below ad by E-Lites was banned by the ASA after receiving 65 complaints targeted not only at the TV advert, but other adverts that accompanied the campaign including radio adverts and posters on buses. A majority of complaints referenced the notion that the advert could amuse children and breached rules which restrict adverts that might interest children from referring to smoking. Subsequently the ASA banned the adverts as they believed it was not made clear the products contained nicotine.
In short, CAP is looking at potential options with a view to launch a full public consultation on the advertising of e-cigs “as early as possible” in 2014.
On their website, Cap says there has been “uncertainty” amongst the industry as to what e-cigarette companies can and cannot promote in their ads, which is why it is taking “swift action” to develop new advertising rules as it is important to have a “clear and responsible” framework in place.