In 2017 CAP introduced a new rule in its Code prohibiting the advertising of unlicensed, nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in certain media. These prohibitions reflect the legislative bans contained in the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 which implement a revised European Tobacco Products Directive.

The prohibitions originate in law, not from CAP policy, and have complex effects. They apply only to ads for certain types of products and only in certain media. They might also apply or not apply to ads for certain other types of product or service depending on a number of factors.

The rule approximates but does not exceed the law. This guidance attempts to provide what clarity CAP considers it can in the interpretation and enforcement of the rule in light of the law. Although this document is chiefly concerned with the application of a CAP rule to non-broadcast advertising, it is also endorsed by BCAP for application to existing bans on e-cigarette ads in broadcast advertising where relevant.

The ASA Councils have agreed to have regard to this document in enforcing the relevant CAP rule (and where relevant the BCAP rule) but it does not bind them.

This document constitutes guidance only and in applying the rules the ASA, CAP and BCAP may take legal advice or advice from other statutory bodies to ensure the correct application of the rules in light of the law. The ASA reserves the right to refer complainants to the relevant statutory regulator.

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