Friday, 9th November marked a day of change. Electronic cigarette companies can now speak a little more freely in the channels where they are allowed to advertise, educating smokers about the potential benefits of vaping instead of smoking. This another step in the right direction for the vaping industry and e-cigarette advertising.
The title of this article is now legally allowed in an advertisement. We can let you know that the Totally Wicked Switz2 emits a tiny fraction of the toxic chemicals that regular combustible cigarettes do, along with other reasonable health claims that we have supporting evidence for.
Totally Wicked’s Switz2 e-cigarette has been tested for emissions at a UKAS accredited testing laboratory. We compared the emission results for the Switz 2 e-cigarette with the reported literature emission values of a reference cigarette tested under similar conditions1. Our data shows a greater than 99.9 % relative reduction in toxicant emissions for the Switz 2 e-cigarette*.
While we have had this type of information for all of our products, and for quite a long while, we have been prevented by regulations from using any information that might be considered to be a health claim when applied to our brand or to any of our products.
How did change to the rules happen? After a long consultation, the ASA have today released their new advertising rules concerning health claims in ads for vaping products. It is clear that responsible members of the vape industry are seen in a very different light than in 2014, when the first set of advertising regulations for e-cigarettes were published by CAP.
Those positively endorsing the relaxation of regulations on advertising health claims included ASH, Cancer Research UK, Public Health England, Royal College of Physicians and UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol studies. They supported the allowance of health claims on the basis of more evidence about product safety being available, current negative misrepresentation of relative risk of vaping vs. smoking in the mainstream media, and the positive response of the vape industry in complying with sector specific regulations.
There are some limitations to the use of these communications in advertising. The claims made must not be misleading and robust evidence must be available to substantiate the claims if and when they are made.
The news is fantastic, but will have been less well received by some.
To name a few, the British Medical Association and GlaxoSmithKline opposed the change to regulations on the basis that commercial advertisers should not be carrying health messages to the public, and that e-cigarettes are not proven to be harm free. Johnson and Johnson did not object to the change in principle, but were concerned that allowing e-cigarette retailers to make health claims could change the status of smoking cessation medicines in the eyes of the public, which could lead to a reduction in confidence in medicines.
Do these objections have anything to do with e-cigarettes chipping away at the notion that smoking is a disease that only medics and pharmaceutical manufacturers can cure? Smokers can now “cure” themselves with an alternative method, and with absolutely no need for pharmaceutical products, principally because our reliance on tobacco was not, is not, and never will be an illness.
Liam Humberstone, Technical Director at Totally Wicked said:
“Totally Wicked welcomes being allowed to be clearer in advertisements about what our products are and can achieve, but believes the continuing prohibition of e-cigarette advertising in print and broadcast media to be counterproductive in terms of the good that vaping has yet to achieve.
As a vaper and ex-smoker I was rather surprised by Johnson and Johnson’s specific opposition. I had tried prescription NRT before using e-cigarettes. My loss of confidence in the ‘medicines’ came a long time before e-cigarettes came to market, and on the basis of NRT’s very poor performance in helping me to quit. From statistical evidence the vast majority of ‘patients’ have had similar experiences.”
What we can hope is that this is the first step in a bigger change that further releases the ties that stop us from shouting about the benefits of vaping instead of smoking in e-cigarette advertising.
1. Chen, P.X and Moldoveanu, S.C. “Mainstream Smoke Chemical Analyses for 2R4F Kentucky Reference Cigarette”. Contributions to Tobacco Research, Volume 20, No. 7, November 2003.
* Excluding nicotine