Cancer Research UK plans to launch a major marketing campaign urging smokers to quit with the help of e-cigarettes have been scuppered by an existing ban on advertising nicotine products, brought in by Brussels earlier this year.
The initiative is planned as part of the annual “Stoptober” campaign and recommends that smokers should “quit or switch” to using e-cigarettes.
However, according to press reports over the weekend, CRUK has been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority that it will be breaking EU rules by promoting vaping, despite research showing it is 95% safer than traditional smoking.
The EU’s Committee on Advertising Practice introduced a ruling in February that outlaws “indirect” marketing promotions of nicotine.
E-cigarette ads are no longer be allowed across TV, radio, print (except for trade publications), and online display, although they are permitted in cinema, out of home, point of sale and sales promotions.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, the Advertising Association called on the Government to repeal the ban. Sources claim that CRUK chiefs were weighing up whether to ignore the ban anyway, and face the consequences once it had run.
CRUK tobacco policy manager George Butterworth said: “Research so far shows e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking and may help smokers quit. Smokers who’ve not succeeded in stopping using other methods may want to try swapping to e-cigarettes. Stopping smoking is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health.”
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