New advertising rules for e-cigarettes have been published by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) to ensure the product is promoted responsibly.

The rules, which were subject to a full public consultation and will apply across media, place an emphasis on the protection of young people and state that e-cigarette adverts must avoid promoting or displaying in a positive light the use of a tobacco product.

The new product-specific rules have been created in addition to general rules that are already in place, covering misleading claims and social responsibility, and will come into effect on 10 November 2014 – ahead of legislation around the promotion of e-cigarettes, which will come into effect in 2016.

CAP said the increase in the popularity and availability of e-cigarettes has seen a significant growth in the advertising of the products.

It said the consultation on the new rules took place amid widespread debate amongst policy makers, health professionals, charities and business about the role and safety of e-cigarettes. 

In summary, the new rules state:

  • Ads must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
  • People shown using e-cigarettes or playing a significant role must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25
  • Ads must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear
  • Ads must not encourage non-smokers or non-nicotine users to use e-cigarettes
  • Ads must make clear that the product is an e-cigarette and not a tobacco product
  • Ads must contain nothing which promotes any design, imagery or logo style that might reasonably be associated in the audience’s mind with a tobacco brand

CAP said it will closely monitor the effect of the rules and conduct a formal review after 12 months.

Director  Shahriar Coupal said: “We’ve moved quickly to put in place appropriate and clear regulation around e-cigarette advertising. 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”.