From 20 May 2016, advertisements with the aim or effect of promoting (directly or indirectly) unlicensed, nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are prohibited on radio or television in the UK. The Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) will be updating the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (“BCAP Code”) in response to the new prohibition and this will be enforced by the Advertising Standards Agency (“ASA”). Ofcom will also be updating its own Broadcasting Code to reflect the changes and this will be enforced by Ofcom itself.
The prohibition arises as a result of the UK government’s implementation of the European Tobacco Products Directive (“Directive”). However, the prohibition will not actually be included in UK law - the UK government has instead used its statutory powers to require CAP and Ofcom to update their respective codes to reflect the prohibition.
The Directive includes further rules affecting non-broadcast advertisement of e-cigarettes and these are expected to be implemented in UK law in due course.
For more information on any of the issues raised, please contact a member of the commercial team at Stevens & Bolton.