We have recently approved ads for several brands of electronic cigarettes. Advertisements for electronic cigarettes are new to TV and, as expected, there has been some media interest surrounding the clearances as advertising for cigarettes themselves have been banned on television since 1965.
Confidentiality obligations prevent us from discussing these adverts in any detail until they have been broadcast, but we are able to provide some general information about the current rules surrounding advertising tobacco/cigarette related products.
The rules of the BCAP Code state that ads can’t promote smoking or the use of tobacco products, which of course rules out real cigarettes.
In addition, the rules state that if a non-tobacco product shares a name, emblem or any other feature with a tobacco product (which would catch electronic cigarettes), then it can only advertise if it makes no reference to smoking, does not promote smoking and does not include a design, colour, imagery, logo style etc that might be associated in the audiences’ mind with a tobacco product.
That essentially means that we can only approve ads for electronic cigarettes if there is nothing in the ad that clearly refers to smoking.
Although it is likely that an advertiser’s website will contain images that would contravene the rules, we are only concerned with the ad you see on television, provided you are not being actively directed to the website. An incidental reference to a website would be acceptable.
We’d like to make it clear that e-cigarette ads found on You Tube or similar viral channels are not necessarily Clearcast approved adverts. We only approve adverts for TV and Video on Demand services and therefore Youtube and advertiser websites may include ads that we have not cleared for television.
For further information please contact: Eleanor Bonnet on 020 7339 4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.