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E-cigarette TV advert ignores marketing rules, warns BMA

An advert for e-cigarettes has breached advertising rules by glamorising vaping, the BMA has declared.

ecigaretteThe association has complained to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) about a TV advert for VIP e-cigarettes, aired last week.

The advert was one of the first to be shown after new ASA e-cigarette marketing rules came into force in October.

The BMA said the advert directly contravened the regulations stating that marketing for e-cigarettes must be socially responsible and must not appeal to non-smokers.

BMA council chair Mark Porter (pictured below) said: ‘We have repeatedly highlighted our concerns that the promotion of e-cigarettes may have an adverse impact by re-normalising smoking and indirectly promoting tobacco smoking.

‘Therefore, it is deeply concerning that these rules are being completely ignored so soon after coming into force.

‘We believe that this advert breaches the new advertising rules by glamorising and sexualising vaping, and appealing to non-smokers.’

Tobacco replacement 

The BMA is concerned that the advert made no reference to the fact that the product was intended for use by smokers or existing nicotine users.

Mark PorterDr Porter added: ‘It is essential that we maintain a consistent approach in portraying a negative image of smoking, do not reinforce the normalcy of smoking cigarettes, and do not allow e-cigarette advertising and branding to purposefully target young people in the same, aggressive way that tobacco companies did in the 1950s and ‘60s.’

In its letter to the ASA, the BMA says it believes the VIP advert should be banned.

The first e-cigarette television adverts first appeared in 2013. However, the new ASA rules allowed the adverts to show the product and people vaping.

Previous television adverts and YouTube videos for VIP e-cigarettes were criticised by the ASA for their sexual innuendo last year. 

Although the adverts were shown after the 9pm watershed, the ASA ruled a post-11pm restriction was more appropriate.

 Find out more about why the BMA is concerned about e-cigarettes

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