The ASA upheld two complaints against E-Cigilicious for its ‘Help Your Loved Ones Change Their Life This Christmas’ advert. As a result, the ad must not appear again in its current form.
The first upheld complaint was that sufficient evidence had not been provided to substantiate the claims that E-Cigilicious’ own cigarettes were less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
While acknowledging that the studies and literature referenced by E-Cigilicious in its response suggested that e-cigarettes in general could be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the ASA ruled that “E-Cigilicious had not provided documentary evidence from MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency] specifically related to their own products in support of their claim”.
It noted that under the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code requirement, any medicinal product, for which medical claims were made, must have been licensed by the MHRA.
Smoking cessation device
The second complaint to be upheld was that the ad implied e-cigarettes could be used as a “smoking cessation device”. While noting that E-Cigilicious' did not promote e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device and the wording in the ad reflected this, the ASA considered that the phrase ‘Help your loved ones change their life’ would be interpreted by potential customers as meaning that by purchasing the product, they would be assisting existing smokers to make a lifestyle change.
It, therefore, concluded that the ad was likely to mislead and was in breach of the code.
The complaint that the image used in the ad was irresponsible, because it was likely to appeal to children, was not upheld by the ASA.
While it acknowledged that the that the model in the ad looked to be in her early twenties or younger and that she was made to look younger by wearing a Santa hat, the ASA noted that the model in the ad was 23-years-old and that E-Cigilicious believed that she appeared to be sufficiently mature.
The ASA said the use of a Santa hat, meanwhile, was relevant at the time of year when the ad campaign appeared.