Advertising guidelines and new changes for e-cigarettes
Find out everything you need to know about the new advertising guidelines for e-cigarettes from the 2016 EU Tobacco Product Directive changes.
In May 2016 the European Tobacco Products Directive came into force, bringing with it a change to the rules around advertising e-cigarettes in the UK.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has clarified the rules around advertising and e-cigarettes to make it clear to sellers what's allowed and what's not.
Across the EU, e-cigarettes and refill containers can't be promoted or advertised directly or indirectly on TV, radio, internet advertising and commercial e-mail, as well as is newspapers, magazines, and periodicals.
On a company's own website and retailer sites advertising or promotion is not permitted but factual information about the products, along with factual 'how to' guides and videos are all permitted. Likewise, blogs, tweets, independently compiled reviews (non-paid for) and e-cigarette trade press and trade to trade communications are all still permitted under the directive.
Here's a look at what you need to know when It comes to the marketing and advertising of e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
Nicotine vs non-nicotine
The UK regulations apply only to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
This means that advertising will still be permitted for non-nicotine e-liquids and e-cigarettes provided they meet the rules set out in the CAP code.
You can read more about the restrictions on advertising as a result of the Tobacco Products Directive from the Department of Health.
CAP Code guidance
The Tobacco Products Directive only came into effect in May 2016, so how the new rules will be applied and enforced is still being finalised by the Department of Health in England.
Section 22 of the CAP Code deals with the regulation of marketing communications for e-cigarettes and related products and has set out guidance that applies to current marketing communications. Some of the key guidelines include:
- Ads must be socially responsible: Ads should not encourage non-smokers or non-nicotine users to use e-cigarettes.
- Ads must not target or feature children: Ads for e-cigarettes should not include content that is likely to appeal particularly to children and must not feature anyone using an e-cigarette if they appear to be under the age of 25. Any content likely to appeal to anyone under the age of 18 will also breach the rules, and marketers should avoid anything that is associated with youth culture.
- Ads can't make health or safety claims: Ads can't contain health or medical claims about e-cigarettes unless authorised by the MHRA. Endorsements by health professionals are also not allowed.
- Ads can't claim to stop smoking: Ads cannot claim - or imply - e-cigarettes can act as a device to stop smoking. They can be presented as an alternative to smoking but must not undermine the message that the best option for health is quitting tobacco.