Responding to the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) new code and guidance for the advertising of vape products, the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has criticised new marketing prohibitions they believe will impose unnecessary restrictions on their members’ legitimate business activities, and make it harder for smokers to find out about products that are at least 95 per cent less harmful than the tobacco they currently smoke .
It will now no longer be possible to advertise nicotine-containing vape products through the following (amongst others):
· Newspapers, Magazines, Periodicals
· Commercial e-mail or text
· Companies own websites and social media platforms
Prior to the introduction of this new code and guidance, there was already a code and guidance in place that was supported by a broad range of stakeholders from public health to industry and vapers. Critically, it was working. In the main industry were promoting their products in a responsible way and thousands upon thousands of smokers were switching to vaping. There is no evidence that such advertising was having a negative impact. It was not acting as a gateway to vaping for non-smokers: figures produced by the ONS show that 99.9 per cent of vapers are adult current or former smokers . It was not leading to children and young people taking up vaping: according to ASH, the most recent evidence showed the lowest recorded smoking rates among children ever, with only 18 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds having tried smoking in 2014 compared with 42 per cent in 2003 . The real effect of this advertising was introducing thousands of smokers to vaping and contributing to the lowest smoking rates on record in both England  and Scotland .
There are still over seven million smokers in England alone, and regulators and politicians should avoid depriving them of access to information about a product that is 95 per cent less harmful than the tobacco products they currently smoke and which is 60 per cent  more likely to help them quit than conventional NRT products.
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has done a huge disservice to an accepted standard of advertising that has served both industry and regulators well.
Fraser Cropper, Chairman of IBVTA said:
“These new advertising restrictions are as a result of the UK Government implementing the TPD in the form of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. That said, we believe there are no grounds to justify these proposed restrictions. Critically, we are deeply concerned that these restrictions will further entrench the dominant position of the tobacco industry by making it increasingly difficult for the legitimate vape industry to sensibly promote their businesses and the products they manufacture and sell; products that are at least 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco.
The new CAP Code effectively places a significant ban on the legitimate marketing activities of IBVTA members and in many cases, will damage established business models. There will be no positive outcome from this as there was no problem that needed addressing.”
Nigel Quine, Deputy Chairman of IBVTA continued:
“Under these restrictions, it would be impossible for an IBVTA member to place a promotional advertisement in a magazine for adult vapers, that was distributed via the post. However, it would be perfectly legal for the same IBVTA member to have an advertisement on the side of a school bus that travelled through a densely-populated area past several schools. How can such a situation possibly be justified?
Why would any regulator or politician want to deny a smoker access to information that could help them quit? We therefore hope that this new guidance will be revised at the earliest opportunity and that CAP will take on board our concerns and positive recommendations for a more proportionate set of advertising guidance.”
 Study carried out on 5,000 smokers, by Professor Robert West looking at the success rate of different methods to stop smoking: nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nothing, or e-cigarettes. Reported on BBC Breakfast 28 April 2014.