Advertising laws relaxed for vape and e-cigarette products

An announcement made by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP), revealed that health claims are no longer banned from advertisements for e-cigarettes.

For the first time since the introduction of the vaping phenomenon more than a decade ago, advertisements promoting vaping devices and products will now be allowed to make health claims – but there’s a catch. Such products cannot be advertised in mainstream media if they contain nicotine. Likewise, brands cannot be promoted in mainstream media if they supply nicotine based products.

Despite certain drawbacks, huge steps have been taken to relax advertising regulations surrounding vape products following a recommendation from the UK Government’s Science and Technology Committee in a bid to educate smokers about the benefits when they make the switch.

How have regulations changed?

Prior to the changes, vape companies could not make health or medicinal claims surrounding e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes – unless the product being advertised was authorised for purposes by the MHRA. Advertisements could present e-cigarettes as a healthier and safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but in any circumstances could not undermine the message that smoking in general would be bad for an individual’s health.

But gone are the days where advertisements couldn’t make health claims about vaping. As the law now currently stands, medicinal claims still cannot be made surrounding the benefits of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes, but health claims can be made.

What can and can’t be said?

Even though advertising regulations have been relaxed, marketers are still somewhat restricted regarding vape products. Advertisements can’t say that a particular product is far healthier than smoking (even though it likely is), unless there is comprehensive and robust evidence that supports such claims.

Simply put, vape companies can communicate the health and safety benefits of e-cigarettes as opposed to tobacco cigarettes, but categorically cannot tie the claims to a specific product.

A change in nicotine content labelling

It isn’t just changes to advertising regulations that have recently been introduced; BCAP has also approved a new change whereby the nicotine content will no longer have to be displayed on nicotine-based products. The Committees of Advertising Practice are expected to give further information about this matter.

Although the new regulations may not be perfect in terms of mainstream media advertising abilities, the long-awaited changes definitely go a long way when educating people about the risks of smoking and the benefits of vaping as an alternative.

Whilst improvements have been and continue to be made regarding the advertising abilities of vape companies, it is vital that you fully understand and comply with new regulations. Remember that you cannot make medicinal claims (ie claims that a product can treat or prevent disease, injury, ailments or adverse conditions). Undoubtedly the line between health and medicinal claims is slightly blurred, but provided you avoid using terms such as “prevent”, “heal”, “restore” and other such phrases then you should be in the all clear.

And above all, remember that as a vape company if you want to make claims linked to your products then you’ll need to commission your own studies based around specific vaping products and gather the appropriate data for advertising purposes.

With advertising restrictions now being relaxed surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping, companies can finally start to inform smokers about the benefits of making the switch and fight the deep-rooted stigma that e-cigarettes and vaping have developed over the years.

Ask a lawyer for further information or advice regarding your business. Read CAP and BCAP’s full regulatory statement for a detailed explanation.

Joe Fisher

Director at Joe's Juice
Joe's Juice are a UK based manufacturer of e-liquid, based in Nottingham.

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