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ASA’s Work Update

The Advertising Standards Authority has provided an update on the work it’s carried out on e-cigarettes and related products

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The Advertising Standards Authority has provided an update on the work it’s carried out on e-cigarettes and related products. It says that e-cigarette and related product vendors need to be careful to ensure their marketing compliance “doesn’t go up in smoke”.

The Advertising Standards Authority says the emergence of synthetic nicotine, nicotine pouches and flavoured crushballs (something used to add flavour to cigarettes) are examples of new product types which may raise questions under the electronic cigarette and tobacco sections of the Advertising Codes.

Nicotine pouches, for example, are increasing in popularity. They are small bags which are placed in a user’s mouth, in-between the lip and gum, releasing nicotine alongside different flavours. As nicotine pouches do not contain tobacco, they are not subject to the statutory restriction on the advertising of tobacco products. However, because nicotine is an addictive substance, nicotine pouches should be advertised in a responsible manner,” the Authority states.

As a proactive regulator, the ASA will maintain its intelligence gathering in terms of new trends in the e-cig and tobacco product markets, and help support marketers in ensuring that their ads for such products comply with the advertising rules.”

Recently, the Advertising Standards Authority has noticed a rise in complaints received regarding the advertising of e-cigarettes and accessories.

The complaints covered a wide range of issues, ranging from concerns about e-cig ads on social media to CBD e-liquids and smoking cessation claims. In the vast majority of cases, we did not identify a potential breach of the Advertising Codes, but the complaints do indicate that this is an important and ever-evolving area, and the Advertising Standards Authority will keep pace with emerging issues which might have the potential to cause harm to consumers,” it continued.

Advertisers are allowed to present factual information about unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components on their websites, including prices. However, when undue emphasis is placed on savings and discounts, this is likely to go beyond what is allowed under the CAP Codes.

In response to some e-cig vendors presenting prices on their websites in a way which amounts to promotion, CAP has issued an Enforcement Notice with the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to remind advertisers of their obligations when advertising new or established products.

“Put simply, e-cig marketers should keep their ads strictly factual, avoiding promotional messaging such as limited-time offers and clearance or strikethrough pricing. The CAP Compliance team will be monitoring the area over the coming months and, where necessary, will be taking targeted action to protect consumers.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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