New restrictions on advertising e-cigarettes come into effect

Changes to the rules for advertising e-cigarettes online come into effect in the UK today (Friday 20 May).

From 20 May 2016 it is prohibited under The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 to advertise or indirectly promote unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes in some media, including paid for space online. Marketers can include ‘factual’ information in advertiser-controlled space online but not do anything that could be seen as directly or indirectly ‘promotional’.

The Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), which is responsible for the UK’s non-broadcast advertising CAP Code, has published a press release giving more details about the new rules and how these will be reflected in the CAP Code. The Department of Health (DoH), which is responsible for implementing the new legislation, has also published some guidance.

Please note that, as we understand it, the ban on online advertising extends to all paid for space online, and is not limited to display advertising (which is referred to in the DoH guidance and CAP’s press release). We also understand that digital out of home advertising is permitted. Marketers should, however, seek their own independent legal advice on the application of the new rules.

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