First TV ad for 50 years to show someone smoking

The ads for VIP e-cigarettes, which feature a woman exhaling vapour, will debut tonight during an ad break in ITV's Grantchester following a change in the law.

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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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