Department of Health Makes the ASA Compromise on E-Cigs

Whether you were pro or anti-Brexit, you understood that it would have a major effect on the e-cigarette market. There have been no shortage of articles detailing precisely how the EU-TPD would change the vaping world. Arguably, the largest issue that e-cig proponents had with the TPD was the severe limitations on advertising.

So, when Brexit happened, whether a vaper was for or against the TPD politically speaking, when it came to vapour, they were all for it. That’s because Brexit effectively ensured (long-term) that positive changes would come in the UK. That we wouldn’t be subject to the draconian terms of the TPD. While some initially claimed that little would actually happen, less than two months after Brexit, the Advertising Association called for a full reversal of the EU e-cig advert regulations. So, we almost instantaneously saw the tide turn.

But of course, we are a nation of laws so some sort of pushback was expected. And that’s what recently happened when the Advertising Standards Authority said that Cancer Research adverts urging Britons to quit tobacco with e-cigs would be breaking EU law.

Look, we’re not sure why the ASA came out and warned Cancer Research about this, but something tells us it’s simply just to cover their tracks. By now, everyone in the UK knows what the research says about vaping – that it’s 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes. But because Brexit didn’t officially happen, according to the law we have to abide by the EU terms…or do we?

Yes, theoretically speaking we all need to follow the law. But, not when it comes at the expense of public health. And, it’s a good thing that our Department of Health recognises this. Just a few days ago, they almost immediately came out and rebuffed the ASA, saying that public health campaigns should be exempt from the TPD. Their position was further solidified by both Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians – both of whom back smokers switching to e-cigarettes.

Obviously, the ASA had to come to some sort of compromise because public health is the first, second and third most important factor here. Seriously – how can they argue with the Department of Health on this? So, they rationalised by saying that e-cig ads should not promote one specific product – nothing more or less.

This is excellent news considering that we are still part of the EU. As long as Brexit continues through, the vaping industry will be in very good shape going forward.

Photo Credit: Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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