Vaping – the act of using an electronic cigarette – will be shown on a television advert on ITV, the UK’s leading commercial terrestrial broadcaster, for the first time this evening (Monday 10 November), after a change in the law.
The advert, for VIP e-cigarettes, will be broadcast after the watershed, during the first commercial break in ITV1’s Grantchester. It features a woman exhaling vapour from an e-cigarette and is able to be broadcast following a legal change from the Advertising Standards Authority, which comes into effect today (Monday 10 November).
Dave Levin, co-founder of VIP – which previously sparked controversy with its first TV advertising campaign – said: “This advert will mark the first time in almost 50 years that TV audiences see someone exhale what appears to be cigarette smoke on an advert – however, it is actually vapour from an e-cigarette that they will see. Vaping has never been shown on a TV advert in the UK before, so this is a first for the country and I’m sure it will be a real conversation starter!
“E-cigarettes have attracted a lot of controversy recently, which has largely been due to concerns over safety, so it will be interesting to see how people respond to our advert’s debut this evening. We’re absolutely confident that our e-cigarettes are among the very best products available on the market today.”
Two versions of the advert – a 10 second cut and a 20 second cut – will run in various post-watershed slots over a period of five weeks. Levin said: “VIP is aimed at adults and, as such, all adverts will appear in suitable programmes after the watershed. E-cigarettes have been shown to be a healthier alternative to tobacco and this is about helping people who want to smoke to make a healthier choice. The Advertising Standards Agency has changed its legislation to reflect that fact.”
This is VIP’s third television advertising campaign. Its first was broadcast in December 2013, but sparked controversy over its approach. Lewis said: “We aren’t afraid to provoke a debate about e-cigarettes. They are part of our society and we’re offering our customers a healthier alternative to smoking. Recently, two separate papers in the UK have accused the World Health Organisation of exaggerating the dangers posed by e-cigarettes. One concluded that for every million smokers in the United Kingdom who turned to e-cigarettes, 6,000 premature deaths would be prevented each year – which would have a huge impact on public health, let alone NHS budgets.”
Vaping is a tobacco-free alternative to smoking which allows users – who are predominantly past or current smokers – to inhale nicotine without the harmful smoke from tobacco. Instead, e-cigarettes produce a vapour that mimics tobacco smoke without many of the harmful side effects, the company claims.