In 1970, US Congress pushed the anti-smoking initiative further by passing the public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned the advertising of cigarettes on TV and radio starting January 2nd, 1971.

It’s been many years since Americans have seen cigarette ads on television, and electronic cigarettes have only recently been shown in TV ads.  In the United Kingdom advertising e-cigarettes on TV is allowed; however, the device itself must not appear on screen.

In a new decision from the Committee of Advertising Practice, electronic cigarettes can appear in TV ads starting November 10th, but must not target minors or non-smokers, and cannot show tobacco “in a positive light.”

The committee will review the new rule after one year. The advertisement of tobacco products in banned in the UK, except in the trade press.

While electronic cigarettes are not a tobacco product, similar advertising rules applied to the product due to similarities in the way they are held and used. This meant that while advertising was allowed, e-cigs could not be shown on screen, defeating much of the purpose of an ad campaign.

The CAP’s list of rules state that ads must not:

  • be “likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture”
  • encourage non-smokers to use e-cigarettes
  • claim e-cigarettes are “safer” or “healthier” than smoking tobacco
  • make any health claims without approval from Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

The CAP took into account a range of views about e-cigs when making the decision.  The considered both the “potential to re-normalise smoking, as well as the case being made for their public health benefits.”

“We’ve moved quickly to put in place appropriate and clear regulation around e-cigarette advertising,” said CAP Director Shahriar Coupal. “While the debate about e-cigarettes continues our commitment is to make sure they are advertised in a responsible way and that children are protected,” he said.

How do you feel about the CAP’s new advertising rule? Do you agree that e-cigarettes should be advertised on television? Share your views in the comment section or tweet us @dolcevapes.