Monday, 10 November 2014

First TV advert showing an e-cigarette being used

Tonight, for the first time since 1965, a woman will appear to smoke in a TV-advert on ITV. The ad, by e-cigarette company VIP, will of course show a woman vaping, not smoking, as VIP Co-founder David Levin points out in the Mirror article linked above. Until today e-cigarette adverts have been allowed by Committee of Advertising ­Practice, but showing the actual use of e-cigarettes has not been allowed out of fear that it might encourage people to start smoking. But now the Commitee has decided to allow this as long as ads do not encourage non-smokers to use e-cigarettes or be directed at under-18s.

Not surprisingly this has made so-called health campaigners furious, as they claim this will “sexualise and glamorise” the use of e-cigarettes. Deborah Arnott, chief of anti-smoking charity Ash is also concerned about this and says:
“Ash is concerned that VIP’s ads sexualise and glamorise e-cigarette use and don’t make clear these products are for smokers. If these ads conform to new rules then we’re concerned the rules aren’t fit for purpose.”
I'm having a bit of a problem understanding Deborah Arnott's logic at times. She seems very convinced that vaping is a lot safer than smoking. She has earlier stated this:
"The drop in smoking also shows that concerns that the use of electronic cigarettes would lead to renormalization of tobacco use appear unfounded.
The rapid increase in use of these products has coincided with a consistent steady decline in smoking"
(Read my post on the decline in smoking here:
Now I'm aware that there is no direct contradiction in those two quotes, but I don't see why she's so afraid that e-cigs would be sexualised and glamorised when actually she seems to understand the health benefits, and the fact that the gateway effect is pure non-sense. Oh well...

It's also worth noticing that 65% (as I'm writing this at least) that answered the poll in the Mirror article feels that ads showing people "smoking" e-cigarettes should be allowed (shame on the mirror for using the term "smoking" and e-cigarettes in the same sentence by the way). And finally I think it's worth noticing that the Royal Society for Public Health wants to rename e-cigarettes, and call the "nicotine sticks" to make them less trendy. I'm not sure I would rename e-cigarettes to make them less trendy, but I can see another reason to try to start using another term, and that is to get rid of the connection to smoking. I think the fact that they are currently called e-cigarettes is part of the reason we still see the media claiming that people smoke e-cigarettes, which of course is just wrong. Now I don't really think naming them "nicotine sticks" would make things better but I'm sure we can think of something better. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion.



  1. I've got lots of opinions, as I was supposed to have a radio interview tonight but it didn't happen!

    One thing that is quite ironic is that the media furor is probably worth more than the advert itself. I'm sure VIP are not trying to attract children or non-smokers, but they will love all the exposure this gets their brand - again!

    As for calling make us call something which it isn't, that's just ridiculous - you can't control the way language evolves, and if people want to use the words ecigs or vaping they will!

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