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UK Ecig Ads Banned – Selective Prosecution?

By Tyler McCanus

Wednesday July 15, 2015
Uk Ecig Ads Banned Selective Prosecution.
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Here we go yet again, ecig ads banned! While technically ecig companies are allowed to advertise, as soon as they hit the airwaves through the UK they are getting stopped, this time they are the ones pushing Mirage ecigs.

These UK ecigs are sold in retail stores around England, as well as online. For what the Brits may call e-fags (fag being the slang term for a cigarette in British English), there is plenty of action in advertising. But as soon as things get going by some brands, they get shut down by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), sometimes for reasons that can be called subjective at best. Ecig ads banned yet again.

As for this latest bout, the new ecig ads by Mirage ecigs were taken to task by the ASA because their general impression of those ads is that they are about “sultry glamour and intimacy.” The ASA released a statement, saying “We considered the prominence of the heavy vapour throughout the ad, in conjunction with the music, the shots of the couple, and the softly spoken voice-over, which contributed to the ad’s sultry and glamorous tone, created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking.” This is why the ad for the “e-fags” was pulled, essentially saying that they created the impression that these UK ecigs were traditional tobacco cigarettes.

That argument isn’t so sound to us, especially since there haven’t even been any advertisements for tobacco cigarettes in decades. The ASA also noted “While it was clear that the products shown were electronic cigarettes, because the ad created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking and presented it as the central focus in a sultry and glamorous, and therefore in a positive way, we concluded that it indirectly promoted the use of tobacco products.”

So now they are saying that these ecig ads don’t actually make viewers think they were traditional tobacco cigarettes, but that the overall impression would make people run and buy a pack of smokes?

Ecig Ads Banned Only Helps Cigarette Sales

vaping ads banned

Pardon us if we are a little skeptical that this type of assertion may be out of line. We’ve gone on record saying that ecig ads needs to be carefully crafted so as not to coerce young people or non-smokers, but Mirage ecigs still needs to attract people to their product!

It is a fine line no doubt, but this constant rejection of advertising for UK ecigs or e-fags is getting out of hand. It seems like the ASA has a very specific and narrow idea of what advertising should be like for electronic cigarettes, and is enforcing an overly strict policy because of it.

The problem isn’t just the fate of Mirage ecigs and their attempts to gain new customers. It’s that the world needs to know more about electronic cigarettes so that smokers understand the choices they have. This is less likely to happen if effective advertising isn’t allowed to air, the kind of advertising that sparks the curiosity of current smokers.

Lets not forget that smokers are looking for something similar enough to their current experience so they can make a switch, which is why ecigs are perfect for many. If commercials can’t show the similarities along with the differences between tobacco cigarettes and ecigarettes, it makes it that much harder for that distinction to be drawn.

What Can Vapers Do?

What we can do is take this as just a step in a still evolving policy on ecigarette advertising, not a concrete set of parameters. We have to remember that the industry is still so new and that the rules of the game aren’t really done being written. So while the ASA chimes in now, it may do so differently in the future.

By the same measure, brands of UK ecigs are going to incorporate some of these guidelines while finding clever ways to avoid others. It’s all part of the back and forth that goes on until a medium, hopefully a happy one, is reached. We’ll watch from afar as it unfolds in the UK, knowing full well that our battle in the US for ecig ads is still at hand.

What’s Happening In The US With Ecig Ads

logic electronic cigarettes

In the US you will see electronic cigarettes advertised on TV. In the midst of the Presidential election for 2016, one company in particular is heavily advertising. You have probably seen the TV commercial for the Logic Pro vaporizer e-cig. We actually did a Logic Pro ecig review that you can see here. Logic electronic cigarettes are a basic design with a new wrinkle of a disposable e-liquid capsule. The ad is directed at new vapers. Experienced vapers generally prefer more advanced, versatile devices.

So while there are e-cig ads on TV in the US, you may have also noticed another phenomena. That is the prevalence of tax payer funded e-cig attack ads. The attack ads are particularly vicious not to mention misleading and portray the vaping industry as an extension of Big Tobacco. The biggest culprit is the California Department of Public Health, the CDPH.

The CDPH has funded and started a campaign that includes a website called Still Blowing Smoke.org. This website associates formaldehyde with ecig even though that claim has been thoroughly debunked. They claim that nicotine is a terror and yet on the CDPH website they recommend nicotine replacement therapies sold by Big Pharma! Yah, something is rotten in the State of Denmark.

At any rate, the vaping industry is in constant evolution. There is much still to be settled and decided.

Tyler,

Team ECCR

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