The British Medical Association (BMA) has written a letter to ASA urging them to ban the ad. They say they are concerned that VIP's latest TV ad made no reference to the fact that the product was intended for use by smokers or "existing nicotine users", and called for a "consistent approach to portraying a negative image of smoking". So basically they are, as Steve K so nicely put it, complaining that VIP is not stating in their ad that the product they are trying to sell is shit. And in a way they are also complaining that VIP is not saying that this product is meant for people that wants to quit smoking, something VIP is probably not allowed to say. From what I know you're not allowed to promote e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking, right? This in fact makes it much harder to for advertisers to target the people they really want to target, the smokers. These restrictions actually forces advertisers to promote e-cigarettes as a lifestyle product and basically target everyone. Mark Porter, the BMA’s council chair, states this:
"We believe that this advert breaches the new advertising rules by glamourising and sexualising vaping, and appealing to non-smokers."Well, Mark, if you're not allowed to say that vaping is healthier than smoking what do you expect? Our friend Mark also couldn't resist using the re-normalizing smoking argument:
"We have repeatedly highlighted our concerns that the promotion of e-cigarettes may have an adverse impact by re-normalising smoking and indirectly promoting tobacco smoking."First of all, Mark, smoking has never been "de-normalised", and if it had been, why on earth would vaping re-normalise it? If vaping will normalise anything it would be quitting! And of course they had to drag the children into this. According to an article in the BMJ by senior news editor Annabel Ferriman the BMA also said this in their complaint:
The adverts for VIP e-cigarettes, first shown on 10 November, have breached guidelines, by glamourising so-called “vaping”—the act of using an electronic cigarette—and by targeting children.I highly recommend reading Joanne of redheadfullofsteam.com's post where she rips this BMJ article apart piece by piece and I'll leave you with her comments on the above statement:
Sexualized ads targeting children? I can only imagine, and I have to admit that I am clutching at straws here, that the same arcane mental process that leads some health professionals to believe that adults hate flavors is also responsible for making them think that the primary marketing hook for kids is sex. Even if I started drinking now and continued without a moments’ break until next April, I would never understand the logic behind this insane sentiment.