Is a Ban on Advertising E-cigs Harmful to Smokers?

April 29, 2022 2 min read

Despite the fact that the NHS is happy to confirm that vaping is a perfect alternative to smoking and actively encourage smokers to use vaping as a way to give up it seems that the industry will always be under scrutiny and not always popular.  Many social media sites still shun vaping and will not allow the sale and promotion of any items. But if vaping is banned from advertising, are we actually damaging smokers?

Social Media

It is fair to say that social media is hugely popular and used by many people. While we can understand the concern of underage vapers being encouraged because of adverts it seems a little remiss to ban them carte blanche. It seems, that it is not just underage vaping that concerns the groups responsible for pushing a ban. At the end of last year, the Advertising Standards Agency decided to ban the adverts from social media platforms. Ironically the campaign to get them banned was backed by two UK based anti-smoking groups: Action on Smoking and Health and Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products.

Vaping can contain nicotine, and while we understand that this is part of their concern it seems a shame to prevent smokers learning about alternative ways that might actually work for them and help them to quit smoking. With scientific backed studies that can evidence how much safer for the body vaping is when compared to traditional smoking, the use of tobacco in this case could be argued to be negligible and valuable. When people first start vaping they look for a level of tobacco similar to smoking, but the plan generally for a lot of people is to cut down the level of tobacco they vape until they are simply using some of the amazing liquid's out there that do not contain any form of tobacco.

How the Ban was Imposed

It was alleged that the companies who were under scrutiny which included the British American Tobacco company, Attitude Vapes, and Global Vaping Group used models who clearly appeared to be under 25, and in some cases under 18 and made very little of the fact that products contain nicotine. One of the adverts in question features Lily Allen, who is a singer and well known for being 35 years old, and the companies could also verify the ages of the other models so felt the complaint was unfair. However, the ruling was made and the ASA has told the companies that they would have nicotine containing E cigarettes could not be promoted on Instagram anymore, and they were to ensure that no under eighteen could view the adverts and anyone featured in the adverts must be over the age of 25.

A Shame for Smokers

Given how many people use social media, it is a shame that vaping comes under such scrutiny when advertising is discussed. It is clear that the alternative which is backed by the NHS is not as harmful as the campaigners try to maintain. Hopefully it won't put too many people off.