Adverts make e-cigs ‘too sexy’, say anti-smoking campaigners

Smoking fears: Lisa Surtees, below, of Fresh, is concerned about the e-cig TV adverts.
Smoking fears: Lisa Surtees, below, of Fresh, is concerned about the e-cig TV adverts.
Have your say

HEALTH campaigners told of their fears for Wearside’s youngsters after the first airing of an e-cigarette advert, which has been deemed as too sexual

The ads for VIP e-cigarettes appeared on television last night, during the break of ITV1’s Grantchester series.

Lisa Surtees of Fresh.

Lisa Surtees of Fresh.

It was the first time an ad showing someone appearing to smoke or “vaping” – as only water vapour is consumed – had appeared on screens in 49 years, after a change in the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) law.

However, campaigners at Fresh, the region’s anti-smoking agency, say the ad could make electronic cigarettes more appealing to youngsters and non-smokers, due to their sexualised nature.

Lisa Surtees, acting director of Fresh, said: “We are concerned that this new advert could make these products appealing to children and teenagers under 18, and also to non-smokers, as it is so sexualised and loaded with innuendo.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that electronic cigarettes are acting as a gateway for young people to smoke – the vast majority of vapers are current or former smokers using them to cut down tobacco or quit, but we have to be vigilant and ensure advertisers don’t try to equate them with attractiveness.

“Manufacturers should be promoting their products responsibly.”

Two versions of the ad – a 10-second cut and a 20-second cut – will run after the watershed over a period of five weeks.

Dave Levin, co-founder of VIP, said the new campaign would mark the first time in almost 50 years that TV audiences see someone exhale what appears to be cigarette smoke.

He 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.”