Tuesday, 18 November 2014

E-cigarette ads on Norwegian TV soon?

Norway currently has very strict rules regarding e-cigarettes. Nicotine e-liquid or e-cigarettes containing nicotine at all can't be sold, there is an 18 year age limit, and advertising is totally banned. This means Norwegians can buy their equipment from all over the world, including from Norway, but have to order anything containing nicotine from a EU country as this is legal for personal use (as long as you intend to use it to quit smoking).

However, when it comes to advertising, there are loopholes. The most obvious is the internet. There is nothing stopping companies with sites based in other countries from targeting a Norwegian audience. But there is also a loophole when it comes to TV adverts. Actually it's kind of the same thing... TV channels broadcasting from other countries are not bound by the same advertising rules as the ones broadcasting from Norway.

There are actually quite a few channels doing this. I think the original reason that some channels chose to send from the UK in the first place was the pretty strict rules we have here regarding how often you're allowed to send commercials. For example, you're not allowed to interrupt a movie to show adverts. I'm not an expert (so if anyone know this better than me feel free to comment) but actually I don't think you're allowed to interrupt any program, which has lead to some weird solutions. A football match for example, you'll often see as 5 programs in your EPG: A short pre-match, the first half, a really short discussion during the break, the second half and then the "after the match"-program in the end. This way they are able to legally squeeze in 4 commercial breaks.

Anyway, this has lead to some channels moving to the UK and these channels are bound by the British rules for advertising rather than the Norwegian ones. This of course means that they are allowed to do like ITV and start airing e-cigarette commercials. Whether they will do this or not is of course up to the channels owners. There are also other bans in Norway that these channels can avoid: You're not allowed to send adverts for alcohol or lotteries and gambling games (with the exception of Norsk Tipping which is owned by the government). Regarding alcohol adverts, none of the channels are currently doing this even if they are actually allowed to. When it comes to lotteries and gambling, most channels have chosen to send those. So what will they do regarding e-cigarettes?

There are two companies owning channels broadcasting from the UK: SBS Discovery and MTG. SBS Discovery says that they have discussed it, and if it's legal and anyone wants to do it, it is possible that they will send these commercials on Norwegian TV. MTG on the other hand say they will not as they consider this the same way they consider alcohol commercials: they want to follow the common code and norms in Norway. Without them saying this I guess this is also the reason they allow lottery and gambling commercials; since the government owned company Norsk Tipping is advertising on both TV and radio they feel that it's ok to send adverts for internet casinos, online betting and so on.

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  2. It is just crazy they can make up rules like this.

  3. ..."as long as you intend to use it to quit smoking" What!? Sure then I am "quitting" lol How can a country be so controlling?

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