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E-cigarette adverts: What has changed

E-cigarette adverts have been televised for some time but showing the actual device itself had been banned until changes in advertising rules.

The changes by the Committee of Advertising Practice mean e-cigarettes can be shown, including in use, in ads across UK media, on the condition that the ads comply with the strict new rules.

But it has ruled the ads must not show tobacco "in a positive light".

Tobacco advertising was banned on UK television in 1965, with the exception of rolling tobacco and cigars, which were banned in 1991.

In summary the rules state:

  • Ads must make clear that the product is an e-cigarette and not a tobacco product
  • Ads must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
  • People shown using e-cigarettes or playing a significant role must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25
  • Ads must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear
  • Ads must not encourage non-smokers or non-nicotine users to use e-cigarettes

VIP co-founder defends e-cigarette TV advert

The co-founder of e-cigarette brand VIP has defended a new advert which has come under fire for "sexualising" the devices.

The advert for VIP e-cigarettes, to be broadcast tonight, will be the first TV commercial in 50 years to feature someone smoking.

Dave Levin, VIP co-founder, said: "We aren't afraid to provoke a debate about e-cigarettes. They are part of our society and we're offering our customers a healthier alternative to smoking."

He said two research papers in the UK had accused the World Health Organisation of exaggerating the dangers posed by e-cigarettes.

Mr Levin added: "One concluded that for every million smokers in the United Kingdom who turned to e-cigarettes, 6,000 premature deaths would be prevented each year - which would have a huge impact on public health, let alone NHS budgets."

Campaign groups hit out at e-cigarette advert

Anti-smoking groups have condemned adverts featuring e-cigarettes for "sexualising" the devices.

ASH questioned new advertising rules and called for e-cigarettes to be aimed at smokers rather than a general audience.

It comes as a change in advertising laws means the first advert in 50 years to show someone smoking will be broadcast on TV tonight.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of anti-smoking charity ASH, said: "These ads sexualise e-cigarette use and do not make clear that these products are not for a general audience but are aimed at smokers.

"ASH doesn't see how these ads conform to the new advertising rules and if they do, then we are seriously concerned that the rules are not fit for purpose."

First TV ad for 50 years to show someone smoking

The first ad in 50 years to show someone smoking will be broadcast tonight. Credit: VIP

The first advert in 50 years to show someone smoking is to be broadcast on TV tonight.

The VIP e-cigarettes ad will feature someone exhaling what appears to be cigarette smoke.

The ad, which can be broadcast following a change in law from the Advertising Standards Authority, will debut tonight during a break in ITV1's Grantchester.

Anti-smoking campaigners have attacked the ads for "sexualising" e-cigarettes but VIP said e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to smoking.

It is not the first time VIP's TV campaigns have sparked controversy - its first ad, broadcast last December, was also criticised.

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E-cigarettes contain 'cancer causing substances'

E-cigarettes contain "a few cancer causing substances" and there is not enough evidence that they help smokers to quit, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) manager who is calling for their regulation.

Dr Armando Peruga, Programme Manager of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative said nicotine is "a key component of electronic cigarettes and affects the brain development of adolescents and foetuses of pregnant women."

He added: "Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine and other chemicals and usually a few cancer causing substances although a much lower level than a conventional cigarette, it doesn't mean that there not without risk."

Regulate E-cigarettes to 'stop promotion to the young'

Regulating electronic cigarettes is important to stop their promotion to non-smokers and youth, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) director.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director the Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases said the rationale the regulation was "to maximize the potential of e-cigarettes and similar devices and minimize the risks of these products."

He added that the organisation also aimed to "prevent the tobacco industry from undermining the great success we have seen in tobacco control, because, let’s face it, the tobacco industry is not a major producer and manufacturer of e-cigarettes and related products."

WHO seeks to toughen up e-cigarette regulations

The owner of an "e-cigarette cafe" has told ITV News that moves by the World Health Organisation today to ban the devices indoors would amount to "taking away the freedom" of e-cigarette users.

Hazel Cheeseman, from Action on Smoking and Health, said it was necessary to "manage what some of the risks from smoking the products might be."

ITV News correspondent Nick Thatcher reports.

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