An advert for an e-cigarette brand has been banned after the advertising watchdog ruled that claims including that it was "the healthier smoking alternative" could not be substantiated.Of course it can be substantiated. Even the tobacco control industry as a whole has had little option but to concede that e-cigs are safer than tobacco; only the certifiably insane amongst them are claiming otherwise.
The ASA's ruling is facepalm stuff.
We noted that the advertisers had not provided any documentation from the MHRA in support of their claims. We acknowledged the quote from ASH, but noted it was not supported by further documentation or substantiation showing the effects of electronic cigarettes or the Ten Motives products specifically. We understood that the presentations provided also referred to general information and documentation about e-cigarettes, but noted we had not been provided with any documentation or studies which detailed the effects of the Ten Motives products featured in the ad or which had considered their effects compared to smoking or on the user's health.
In the absence of supporting evidence which showed that the Ten Motives products featured in the ad were less harmful than smoking and did not have any negative effects on the user's health, we concluded that the claims "The healthier smoking alternative" and "you can still enjoy smoking without worrying about the effects on your health" were misleading.Eh? So because the MHRA haven't yet officially stated the bleeding obvious, and because quotes about e-cigs in general - which all work in precisely the same way through a very simple process - are not exclusively about Ten Motives products, it means Ten Motives can't state the bleeding obvious themselves?
Good grief. A perfect example of stupid regulatory obstinacy if ever I saw one.
Still, the Guardian is simply reporting on the latest in a long line of frivolous complaints routinely filed against e-cigs whenever a new ad pops up via any media (the one described above was just a leaflet, for Chrissakes). Which begs the question as to who is firing off these complaints.
In September I wrote about a slew of TV ads being banned, again for spurious reasons, with massively over-funded tax leeches Smokefree South West being one of the complainants. Their particular incompetent, dogma-driven whine was rejected out of hand, but the scattergun approach employed by dozens of other obsessive anti-looks-like-smoking cranks ensured that e-cig exposure would be delayed a little bit longer.
It seems like every time an e-cig ad is released, psycho antis are slavering at the opportunity it affords them to be egotistically offended. Just last month, judgement on an E-Lites ad was released by the ASA.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it:
1. appeared in a magazine that appealed to children; andThe authority's response was withering.
2. included an image of a penguin and the word 'Christmas', which could appeal to children.
The ASA noted the target audience cited by the advertiser and publisher and we also noted the articles submitted which consisted of reports on chemical weapons, drug trafficking and whistle-blowers. We considered those articles and did not deem them or the magazine generally, to be of particular interest to children.Ya don't say! They also implied that, you know, adults quite like Christmas too and generally consider penguins to be cute and associated with winter weather so told the joyless moaner to stick their complaint where the sun don't shine.
On the same day, though, it was revealed that another e-cig company was not so fortunate. You see, they learned that NHS anti-smoking campaigns are not really their friend after all after their ad was banned for having the cheek to mention Stoptober.
A national press ad for V2 electronic cigarettes stated "USA's #1 now in the UK. Feel the quality. Taste the difference ... For FREE ...". Halfway down the page, text stated "For Stoptober ... To get your Express Starter Kit, ... use promo-code ‘STOPTOBER’...".
The ASA was concerned that, as the ad used the word “Stoptober”, consumers were likely to understand that the product was associated with or endorsed by the NHS campaign “Stoptober”, which we understood was not the case, and they were therefore likely to believe that the product was suitable for use as a smoking cessation device.Bloody amateurs! Don't they know Stoptober is only for stopping in ways for which the NHS get paid?
It's starting to look like some farcical game of anti-smoking whac-a-mole with joyless bores (or, perhaps state-funded prohibitionists, who knows) desperately trying to prevent sight of a promising harm reduction product being noticed by people who might like to try it out.
As regularly predicted here since 2010, e-cigs are exposing many anti-smokers for the nasty, spiteful, self-centred pieces of work that they have always been.
The future will hopefully view them with the contempt they deserve.
H/T Jewel-robbing ASA monitor, PJH