Friday 18 January 2013

This Might Help, So Let's Block It

Snowdon reported on Wednesday that e-cig retailer Nicolites have had their TV ad pulled for naïvely claiming them to be 100% safe. It will no doubt be temporary, and they'll be on your screens once the offending copy is amended.

They'd best get a wiggle on, though, because The Times yesterday revealed that one of their competitors has been given the green light.
E-Lites, which makes e-cigarettes containing nicotine, will launch an advertising campaign on Saturday on ITV, Sky and Channel 5, featuring the BBC’s Waterloo Road actor Mark Benton.
I've commented before that e-cigs have gone from cottage industry to big business in a remarkably short space of time, and it's delicious to see two suppliers fighting to be the first to achieve widespread TV recognition.

Standing in their way, though - apart from the clowns who produced the EU TPD - are archaic rules on advertising which don't take such ground-breaking products into account, along with the mindless state intransigence which is behind them.
Adrian Everett, the chief executive of the Bromsgrove-based company, said it had taken 14 months to clear the 30-second advert with Clearcast, the body that vets TV advertising before broadcast. E-Lites was forced to drop any footage of the product itself or promote the “intrinsic benefit of switching” from tobacco to ecigarettes. 
The Advertising Standards Authority has the power to ban adverts, but believes that the rules are sufficiently tight to “severely restrict” e-cigarette advertising on television.
It begs a simple one word question. Why?

Why, when government is spending £2.7m trying to force smokers to quit, is Clearcast delaying these ads for 14 months? Why, when anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that e-cigs are encouraging smokers to quit in far larger numbers than the 'mutations' campaign could ever dream of swaying? Why, when the E-Lites campaign costs the taxpayer nothing?

Why are they not allowed to advertise the incontrovertible fact that e-cigs are infinitely safer than tobacco? Why is footage of the product not allowed when it isn't tobacco and therefore not covered by the ban on tobacco advertising? Why would the state - which is aggressively determined to stamp out smoking, apparently - be happy that the ASA is acting to "severely restrict" something which has huge potential to do exactly that?


Why is the state making e-cigs jump through such preposterous hoops to help people quit, eh? A cynic might think there was some conspiracy to close the nicotine market to anything but pharmaceutical products.

It's either that, or politicians - and the creaking bureaucratic institutions their inadequacy creates - are dangerously inept and woefully incapable of embracing common sense.

The one certainty is that, yet again, the very last consideration in any of their minds is health.

H/T RooBeeDoo via e-mail


JonathanBagley said...

I think the Government is under huge pressure from drug companies. The MHRA approval of medicines is funded by the drug companies and the MHRA has unilaterally defined ecigs as medicinal products (R4 Your and Yours earlier this week) in an attempt to gain control. Nevertheless, ecig TV adverts will appear and one already has. Skycig (see their website) currently has an ad on 5USA, although you wouldn't know it was an advert for ecigs without an image of the pack on the screen. Remember the purple silk with the cut in it? I think we can rely on the ingenuity of the advertising industry.

Simon Cooke said...

The ASA isn't the government - although it does on occasion get a little too cuddly with them for my liking. More importantly, broadcast adverts are governed by statute rather than - as with press advertising - a self-regulatory code. The health section is particularly onerous - not to deal with cigarettes, whisky or willd wild women but chiefly to deal with the flogging of quack remedies, slimming plans and diet supplements. It seems to me that Clearcast are actually doing the e-cigs business a big favour by spending so much time to get the ad within the regulations governing health claims. We can be 100% sure that the anti-tobacco loons will report the ad - if Clearcast have cleared it and vetted the health claims the ASA is less likely to black the advert.

John M said...

It's because ASH and the other publicly funded imbeciles who are like them keep jumping up and down inside Government offices shouting "but they're just like cigarettes aren't they? No different! they even look like cigarettes and cigarettes are evil and kill children and puppies and stuff!"

I suspect the answer really is as retarded as that...

Dick_Puddlecote said...

"the MHRA has unilaterally defined ecigs as medicinal products"

Interesting, because they are due to report on their consultation in May IIRC. That was not the outcome which was most favoured. Looks like pharma may have been busy behind the scenes again.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ta for that.

Though I don't see how not being able to show the product itself is going to help them. It's like saying "you may have vaguely heard of these complicated devices, so why not blindly shell out £30 for one".

There is still no proven harm from them, and they are not tobacco products so should have been allowed to explain how they work. Though I do understand the quack remedies angle.

It still would seem to be a state-created fuck up. Everything big tobacco control demands is supposed to be 'urgent', yet there are definitely people smoking now who would not be if this ad hadn't been delayed for over a year.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes. It is.

George Speller said...

You mean "the now discredited ASH"?

George Speller said...

You mean "drug dealers"?

Steve Brown said...

I'm a smoker, prior to purchasing my Skycig starter pack just before Christmas I was on 20 fags a day. I'm now on 5 cigarettes and one Skycig Crown Tobacco cartridge a day. E-cigs are great and the Crown Tobacco flavour is fantastic (just a feint hint of coffee when exhaling - delicious!) and I can puff my e-cig wherever I like, even in Terminal 5.

"Molon labe", as King Leonidas the First said. I'll not give up my e-cigs without a fight. I have been 'denormalised' once; never again!

nisakiman said...

Now discredited? I wish. They still have the ear of TPTB, and until that connection (and the funding that goes with it) is severed, I think 'discredited' is a subjective term.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

You're one of the ones the TCI hate most. Dual users, they say, are not reducing their harm, merely introducing more harm to their already filthy lifestyles.

Might be something to do with the lost duties too (much of which ends up financing their summer holidays), I reckon. ;)

Ivan D said...

And they have "regained credibility" in the eyes of the gullible by hiding behind the skirts of the politicos currently running CRUK. Who needs public support when you can take advantage of people who think that they are donating to a more worthy cause?

Andy Dan said...

"A cynic might think there was some conspiracy to close the nicotine market to anything but pharmaceutical products"
Spot on. I have used Swedish snus for many years. It was cheaper than cigarettes, more convenient to use than smoking when working manually outside and my breathing was better. Then, the EU decided to ban its export to member countries. They've desperately tried to prove that snus is harmful, but been unable to do so, so what is the real reason for the ban? Either the pharmaceutical companies lobbying the EU in this crony-capitalistic society we live in, or just the health parasites in the EU deciding they know what's best for everybody and exerting power for the sake of it. I hate them all!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It's fast becoming my catchphrase, but your story again seems to illustrate that this 'public health' drive over tobacco has never had anything to do with health.