Last week the CAP (committee of advertising practice) announced that the advertising of e-cigarettes would be allowed on British television. Prior to this e-cigarettes were not allowed to be advertised as they were considered as a cigarette and the advertisement of any tobacco related product is strictly prohibited in Britain due to the health risks that these products are responsible for. An e-cigarette is designed to provide smokers with an alternative method to smoking, the e-cigarette satisfies their nicotine craving whilst not carrying all the harmful toxins that cigarettes do and in this respect are considered as a healthier alternative to real cigarettes. However, many doctors are concerned about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes as they argue that nicotine is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug and some doctors are claiming that the e-cigarettes could lead directly to nicotine poisoning and regardless of their side effects will still leave millions of people addicted them.
As a result of this, the decision to allow the advertisement of e-cigarettes has been extremely controversial. The CAP has given strict guidelines to the manufacturers of e-cigarettes in order to try and ensure that they do not abuse the consumer by glamorising the e-cigarette’s image. Manufacturers have been told that they cannot attempt to sell the e-cigarette to under eighteens or non-smokers and moreover are not allowed to claim that e-cigarettes are healthier than normal cigarettes. There is concern that the e-cigarette will lead to market failure in the tobacco industry as more people are likely to buy e-cigarettes due to the fact they are considered to be safer than normal cigarettes and this will lead to an over supply of cigarettes if people do stop buying them. As a consequence some people are calling for increased taxation and tougher government regulation on the e-cigarette in order to try and minimise this problem.
By Kitty Cattell, 6W