First TV ad to show vaping to run as restrictions lifted

‘Smoking’ in ads will return to UK television screens later today (10 November) after a change in advertising rules. This is not, however, a tearing up of the strict rules banning all advertising of cigarettes but an ad for ecigarette brand VIP, which is laying claim to be the first to show someone ‘vaping’ in a UK spot.

The launch of the ad, which breaks tonight after the 9pm watershed on ITV1, coincides with the introduction of new Committee of Advertising Practice codes that allow ecigarette brands to show their products in use in ads aired after 9pm.

The move brings TV ad rules in line with non-broadcast codes, which already allowed images of people vaping.

Despite the allowance, the majority of rules introduced today tighten the restrictions around ecigarette brand ads. Other new rules include a ban on overtly appealing to under-18s by association with youth culture and the stipulation ads must not encourage non-smokers or non-nicotine users to use e-cigarettes.

VIP will be hoping the PR around its claimed first will be more positive than the headlines suffered last year when its debut TV campaign attracted more 1,500 complaints it was “offensive” and “overtly sexual”.  Attempts to tone down the ad backfired after a sanitised version launched earlier this year but was deemed still too risqué to run before the watershed.


VIP banned TV ad

VIP’s effort to ‘tone down’ ad backfires

Lara O'Reilly

E-cigarette brand VIP’s efforts to “tone down” its advertising appear to have backfired after its latest TV ad was banned from appearing before 9pm, with the advertising watchdog deeming it too “sexual” for younger viewers. 


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  1. Ellie Caldwell 11 Nov 2014

    VIP were not the first to show vaping on television. Rather KiK Electronic Cigarettes launched the very first advert since regulations were relaxed at 06.09am on TruTv yesterday morning. Their campaign was aired 22 times before any competitor including VIP. CEO Sandy Chadha confirmed this in a series of TV interviews on BBC News, ITV News and Channel 5 News. He also discussed the launch on radio stations including BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Birmingham.

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