Changes to Watchdog Rules Mean E Cigarettes May Be Advertised on TV
Up until now e cigarette retailers and manufacturers have been prohibited from advertising electronic cigarettes on the television. In fact, not only have they been banned from producing adverts, it has been illegal to even show someone using an e cigarette. The e cig world has abided with these rules while patiently waiting for the Committee of Advertising practices (otherwise known as CAP) to announce new guidelines.
It has taken time however CAP have indeed lifted the restrictions meaning that from the tenth of November (2014) not only will television adverts be able to show people using e cigs, they will be allowed to pro-actively advertise them to potential customers.
To say that this news has been well received by the e cig industry would be something of an understatement to say the least.
There will of course still be tightly regulated restrictions for adverts which will ensure that all parties know where they stand and that consumers are protected. For example, adverts will not be able to promote their wares to children or associate e smoking with young people specifically and won't be able to be shown in such as way as to encourage non-smokers to take up e smoking.
Advertisers will also have to ensure that they don't claim any health benefits associated with e smoking or say that e cigs are more healthy or safer than traditional cigarettes. As the e cigarette market and the technology involved is so new regulating bodies (medical as opposed to broadcasting) feel that there have not been enough studies done over a long enough period of time to accurate confirm the health and safety benefits of e smoking. Until such as time as sufficient information has been collected these details will not be allowed to be shown on television.
The BBC has stated that the new rules would run for twelve months before being revisited however it is likely that they will simply be renewed next November without alterations unless specific concerns are raised before then which prove a negative impact on the public.
Tobacco companies have been banned from advertising their products on television for many years with fierce restrictions being place across the media world. With this in mind few suspected that the CAP ruling on e cig advertising would come through so quickly and in favour of the e cigarette industry as it has. This is a small victory however it will go a long way to opening the door to advertising e cigarettes as the proven healthier alternative in the future. In the meantime those in the industry will enjoy the opportunity to demystify e cigarettes and e smoking.