‘Stoptober’ and how to ensure your e-cigarette ads are compliant

With Stoptober upon us, making sure your e-cigarette ads are compliant should be top of your agenda.

Follow these simple tips to keep your ads in check.

Know your medium

Nicotine containing e-cigarettes aimed at consumers, rather than the trade, cannot be advertised in newspapers, magazines, online media, and some other forms of electronic media. Factual claims can however be made for the products on marketers’ own websites. See rule 22.12 and the rulings here and here.

Medicinal claims

Unless licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), e-cigarettes should not make medicinal claims, including stop smoking claims.  See rule 22.5 and more information here and here. Health claims may be permitted, but you will need robust evidence to support any health claim and that evidence must apply to your own products and not e-cigarettes in general, see rulings here and here.

Nicotine containing e-cigarettes

If an e-cigarette product contains nicotine, you must make that clear in the ad - see rule 22.7 and more here. If your range contains e-cigarettes with and without nicotine and an ad is displaying e-cigarettes to promote the brand in general (rather than a specific product), the presence of nicotine in the range should be made clear.

Don’t make your ads youthful

Don’t use individuals under 25 years old in your ads, make sure your ads don’t appeal to under 18s (by reflecting or being associated with youth culture) and don’t direct your ads to under 18s (either through the selection of media or the context they appear in) - see rules 22.9, 22.10 and 22.11 and the ruling here.

Vaping is not for new starters

You mustn’t encourage non-smokers to take up e-cigarettes in your ads - see rule 22.8 and more information here.

Tobacco is a no no

You must not promote tobacco products, tobacco imagery or branding in your ads and don’t show tobacco usage in a positive light - see rules 22.2 and 22.3. You should also not confuse e-cigarettes with tobacco products - see rule 22.4.

Follow these simple tips to avoid a regulatory burn this October.  For further online guidance on the advertising of e-cigarettes, see here.  If you’d like further advice on proposed non-broadcast advertising, you can contact the Copy Advice team for bespoke advice.

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