The tobacco producer returned to TV after 20 years with creative promising its product delivered “satisfaction for vapers”, the name given to people who smoke e-cigarettes. It was backed by a print ad targeting smokers with the claim “No tobacco. No smoke. Just pure satisfaction for smokers”.
The Advertising Standards Authority, which has admitted the current code is not appropriate to regulate e-cigarette campaigns, proactively investigated whether both ads suggested the product is a smoking cessation aid. It found attempts to position the product as an alternative for smokers, which would help them quit, misleading because it was not certified by the government as a smoking cessation device.
BAT defended the “acceptable” tactic and claimed any “explicit reference” to its product not being a smoking cessation aid could be seen as a discouragement for smokers and therefore sustain a damaging habit. The average consumer would recognise the Vype e-cigarette was aimed at nicotine users rather than a licensed smoking cessation device, it added.
The ban comes as the industry watchdog works to plug the regulatory gap around e-cigarette advertising in order to extinguish uncertainty among brands.
SKYCIG saw its first UK TV e-cigarette ad banned last year for falling to make clear the product was an e-cigarette and that it contained nicotine.