UK bans ‘sultry’ e-cigarette ads

2014-12-25 11:10

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London - The UK banned television advertisements for electronic cigarettes on Wednesday, two months after changing the rules to allow them.

The ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was welcomed by the anti-smoking groups that challenged the legality of the commercials.

The regulator ruled that three advertisements for vaping carried a "strong association" with traditional smoking and presented it in a "sultry and glamorous way”.

The ASA said it took action despite the ads avoiding terminology related to tobacco products and only appearing after 21:00.

The ASA investigated after complaints from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the British Medical Association and other lobby groups.

There were also 187 complaints from television viewers.

The complaints were that the ads were overtly sexual, geared to people under 18 and aimed at encouraging those who had given up smoking to try e-cigarettes.

Commercials for battery-powered nicotine devices were allowed on the basis that they did not contain tobacco, and should therefore not be subject to rules banning the advertisement of tobacco products that have been in force for 40 years.

The World Health Organisation has urged governments to "impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people”.

ASH estimated that in March 2014 there were over 2 million users of electronic cigarettes in Britain and that around 700 000 people had replaced tobacco smoking with e-cigarette use.

It said there was little evidence suggesting e-cigarettes were a gateway to tobacco smoking, but warned that "this could change, particularly if advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes glamourises the use of these products and promotes their use to young people”.

Read more on:    who  |  health
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