No one can doubt the huge popularity of e-cigarettes these days but with all this fame comes at a price and in this case it’s the endless flow of controversy surrounding the possible side effects and the fact that these devices might act as a gateway to real tobacco smoking in the case of youths. However, the positive side is that more and more ex-smokers can now cut down or quit entirely their combustible tobacco addiction and expose themselves to far less risks, since cigs don’t produce any of the smoke, tar, or ash.
At the end of 2014, the first ever UK TV commercial showing people on their e-cigarettes has sparked a fierce debate between supporters of the products and anti-smoking advocates. Even though e-cigs have been advertised before on TV, seeing a person puffing on the devices was quite a premiere and this practice has been banned until a change in rules took place in November.
Opponents of the devices are worried that witnessing people enjoying vaping in TV ads could normalize the whole idea of smoking once again – this being the main reason why smoking tobacco has been banned from commercials by the British authorities since 1965. However, in the new regulations the Committee of Advertising Practice gave the green light with one condition – tobacco products must not be shown in a positive light.
The new set of rules advertisers have to follow if they want to see their commercial broadcasted on TV includes the following guidelines:
- The commercials mustn’t make any medical claims about the products or the fact that they might be safer than their combustible counterparts unless they have an approval from from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency;
- The commercials mustn’t appeal to minors by linking with specific pop culture trends that are popular at this age;
- The commercials mustn’t appeal to non-smokers and get them trying out the products;
Electronic cigarettes are battery operated gizmos that look like traditional tobacco cigarette but instead of the smoke they give out an inhalable flavored mist. Depending on the model they might have an automatic battery that activates each time the vaper inhales or a manual battery that needs to be pressed with every puff.
Channel 5 was the first to feature an e-cigarette commercial, and it involved a group of people vaping together while around the table enjoying a meal.
The CEO of KiK – the ecig company behind the ad – is happy with the new regulations and thrilled that her company made history. She believes that broadcasting the ad will encourage more people to give up smoking and go for a new type of lifestyle.
While critics still argue that the long term effects of these devices are still unknown and so many questions are still unanswered, promoters say that ecigs are put against the wall without any scientific data to support claims and they are responsible in fact for more good than harm.