Irish Cancer Society welcomes restrictions on e-cigarette ads

E-cigarettes advertising ‘very much along the same line as the old tobacco industry’

According to the new ASAI code, e-cigarettes should not contain health or medicinal claims unless authorised to do so and may not use any design, imagery or logo style that may be associated with a tobacco brand. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

According to the new ASAI code, e-cigarettes should not contain health or medicinal claims unless authorised to do so and may not use any design, imagery or logo style that may be associated with a tobacco brand. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the introduction of new rules for the advertising of e-cigarettes while reiterating the need to create a clear distinction between e-cigarettes and the tobacco industry.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) new code of standards means e-cigarette manufacturers must refrain from using marketing tools which appeal to under 18s, must not encourage non-smokers to use their product and must not use health professionals or celebrities to endorse electronic cigarettes.

According to the code, e-cigarettes should not contain health or medicinal claims unless authorised to do so and may not use any design, imagery or logo style that may be associated with a tobacco brand.

Eoin Bradley from the Irish Cancer Society said he was pleased to see the updated rules on e-cigarette advertising, saying the marketing of e-cigarettes had been until now “very much along the same line as the old tobacco industry”.

“We have known for a long time that branding and marketing for tobacco industry are huge,” said Mr Bradley. “That’s the whole reason that plain packaging for tobacco is so important. The last thing we want to see is for e-cigarettes to mock up or pretend to be something which looks very similar to tobacco.”

Mr Bradley particularly welcomed the code which requires that e-cigarette manufacturers do not undermine the message that quitting tobacco use is the best health option for good health.

He said the use of e-cigarettes is rapidly increasing, saying the latest research carried out by the Irish Cancer Society revealed 210,000 Irish people were using e-cigarettes in March 2015, a rise from 134,000 users in July 2014.

Mr Bradley also raised concerns over the regulation of e-cigarettes. “At this moment there is no regulation on e-cigarettes, they have the same rules governing them as any consumer product,” he said, adding that “technically” an under 18-year-old could purchase e-cigarettes without repercussions.

The Irish Cancer Society warned earlier this year that without regulation, no medical or pharmaceutical advice was being given alongside the purchase of e-cigarettes.

Mr Bradley said the Department of Health was in the process of drawing up regulation on the sale of e-cigarettes which must be introduced under European law by May 2016.

The Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) also welcomed the new ASAI code of advertising but added that its organisation was “not part of the tobacco industry”.

“We do not sell tobacco products, but rather an alternative that carries a vastly lower risk,” said a statement from the IVVA. “Our members therefore would have no interest in promoting our competitors’ products.”

The new ASAI code of standards will come into effect on March 1st 2016. Advertisers and marketing communication who fail to comply with the code will be asked to change the advertisement appropriately. Companies who do not comply with the regulations will not face a financial penalty.