The rules will be added to those currently in place and will come into effect on the 10th November 2014. Advertising will be monitored for twelve months and a full public consultation will be held to amend them if necessary.
As it stands, Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive is due to be enforced by the UK government in 2016 and will prohibit all forms of advertising.
CAP say that although there has been advertising within the existing rule framework they felt the need for product-specific regulation due to the expansion of the market and the growth in the numbers of campaigns.
They also felt that there were other issues in need of addressing; namely the concern held by the general public and the uncertainty vocalised by electronic cigarette advertisers.
General rules to date covered misleading claims, harm, offence and social responsibility. The product-specific rules extend those to include:
- Ads must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
- People shown using e-cigarettes 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 e-cigarettes
- Ads must make clear that the product is an e-cigarette and not a tobacco product
The creation of the new framework came about following consultation with policy makers, health professionals, charities and business about the role and safety of e-cigarettes.
The aim was to tie together rules for non-broadcast and broadcast advertising with the aim of protecting children from being influenced by them. Television and radio adverts will now be allowed to run subject to watershed restrictions and, for the first time, television adverts will be allowed to display the products “in use”. E-Cigs can currently be shown in use in non-televised advertising and this will continue after the new rules come into effect.
A number of e-cigarette ads have been banned by the CAP’s sister agency, the Advertising Standards Authority, in recent months for “glamourising” nicotine products or not making it clear enough that they aren’t available to consumers under the age of 18.
Companies wishing to make claims relating to health benefits will not be allowed unless authorisation is first obtained from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).