The reason for banning cigarette advertising is quite obvious, as it is a product that kills a lot of it's users, but as Bates points out, this is not the case with E-cigarettes. Bates says that banning e-cigarette advertising just gives Big Tobacco the upper hand, since it effectively will protect the cigarette market. In addition to that "advertising bans favour businesses with established distribution chains and experience of promoting their products without the benefit of advertising – namely tobacco companies", Bates writes. He suggests that if restrictions beyond the standard advertising code is necessary (which I don't think he feels), it should be in the form used to control alcohol advertising. So a ban on e-cigarette advertising, like we have in Norway right now, will only help Big Tobacco in one way or the other. But what about restrictions? Well of course the e-cigarette ads shouldn't target children (no advertising should), I think we all agree on that. But what about other restrictions?
In the US, for now, advertising is legal as long as it doesn't make any health claims. That means that they have taken away the strongest argument that can be used to target smokers specifically, which I think is what e-cigarette advertising should do. So what happens then? Well, they have two options: Don't advertise, or target everyone, not only smokers. Figuring out what they will choose isn't exactly rocket science. So this restriction on e-cigarettes will effectively make e-cigarettes more attractive to non-smokers. Somehow I don't really think that is what the health authorities want. Putting restrictions on e-cigarette advertising in this way is a bad idea. The advertisers will always find a way around the restrictions, and it will probably end up targeting a lot of people presenting e-cigarettes as trendy lifestyle products, making them very attractive to young people, non-smokers as well as smokers.