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VAPRIL hit by CAP Crackdown

VAPRIL is in full swing, but the event is muted compared to previous years due to a CAP prohibition on vape related social media posts

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VAPRIL is in full swing, but the event is muted compared to previous years due to a Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) prohibition on vape related social media posts. The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), has promoted its annual #VApril Vaping Awareness Month on social media for six years, to give smokers factual, evidence-based advice on switching from smoking to vaping.

The Committee of Advertising Practice is a British organisation responsible for the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, which is the main code of practice for self-regulation of the non-broadcast advertising industry in the UK. The UKVIA says that this year CAP has announced that it will enforce a prohibition of vaping ads on social media.

UKVIA said: “We shared our planned 2024 social media posts with CAP and asked if we could continue to give smokers facts to help them quit.

The response: ‘There is currently no ASA precedent to give us a steer on whether ads from a vaping trade body like those you have shared, with messaging about #VApril, would likely be considered to be directly or indirectly promoting e-cigarettes, if shared on social media to users who have not specifically sought it out. In the absence of relevant precedent, unfortunately we are not able to provide a clear position on the matter at this time and so we would recommend seeking legal advice’.”

In the light of this, the UKVIA has taken the decision to run this year’s #VApril social media campaign because it gives clear facts about the relative risks of smoking and vaping.

It continues: “We do not believe that giving smokers evidence-based information to help them make informed decisions regarding whether they should switch from cigarettes, which kill 220 people a day in the UK, to an alternative which is 95% less harmful, should be considered unlawful.

“We are not advertising any vape products, linking to any company’s vape sales page or selling any vaping products.

“We are simply letting smokers know that there is an alternative to cigarettes which OHID says ‘in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking vaping is not risk-free, particularly for people who have never smoked.’

“#VApril seeks to give smokers the facts on the relative health risks of smoking and vaping so they can decide for themselves whether to continue smoking or switch to something far less harmful.

“It is hardly any different to the government’s own annual #Stoptober campaign which encourages smokers to quit and provides advice on how vaping can help them do so. We trust that ASA will not rule that promoting #VApril on social media breaks rules designed to prevent vape companies promoting their products. But if it does, will it also declare #Stoptober messaging on social media to be illegal too?”


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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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