ASH Comment on Vapour Love sponsorship

21 August 2017

Commenting on a story in The Sun online today [21st August] entitled ‘SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE?’ [1] Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy at Action on Smoking and Health said:

“It is completely irresponsible for a company that sells an age restricted product to promote their brand through a seven-year old girl. The ASA rules expressly forbid the use of children to market the sale of e-cigarettes and we have made a complaint that this breaches those rules.

“E-cigarettes have helped many adults to quit smoking in this country and responsible marketing to smokers has played a part in that. However, by most people’s standards this goes well beyond the bounds of acceptability.”

The ASA rules are clear that children should not be used in e-cigarette advertising. They state:

“Ads for e-cigarettes must not feature anyone playing a significant role or using an e-cigarette if they are, or appear to be, under the age of 25 (rule 22.10). Similarly, any content likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18 is likely to breach rule 22.9. With this in mind, marketers should avoid anything likely to reflect or be associated with youth culture, characters likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18 and depicting people behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner.” [2]

It is our view that the promotion of this sponsorship through social media constitutes advertising [3]. It is of particular concern that these promotional photographs were linked to a 7 year olds twitter account including requests to followers to ‘follow’ the companies Instagram account and download their shopping App. [4]

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.