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Then And Now

As recently as 2010, the United Kingdom was very nearly ready to ban vaping entirely. How have we gone from that knee-jerk reaction to something which is helping to get people to quit smoking to one of the most friendly of nations toward vaping? I’ll admit, it’s puzzling. Surely some of the guidelines fell under the European Union tobacco laws, but what will happen now that England has parted ways?

Just when you were finally getting used to the current vape laws, they’ve gone and changed some of them again. These things are in flux more than magick!
The United Kingdom in all of its glory has decided that they will allow ‘health’ claims to be made.Straight from the mouths and pens of those folks at the Committees of Advertising Practice, which now states: “Health claims are no longer banned from ads for e-cigarettes.” Can I get a Hallelujah?
As with everything in the United Kingdom, the devil is in the detail, and there are way too many limitations and a lack of clarity around what we are allowed to do. Is anyone surprised, really? So, you’re asking how have these vape advertising regulations changed, aren’t you? Well, who really knows just yet? It seems such an insignificant change regarding such a big issue, in my opinion.

What Changes Were Made?

Previously, the rules stated:

“Marketing communications must not contain health or medicinal claims unless the product is authorised for those purposes by the MHRA. E-cigarettes may be presented as an alternative to tobacco but marketers must do nothing to undermine the message that quitting tobacco use is the best option for health.”

Now we have this to contend with:

“Marketing communications must not contain health or medicinal claims unless the product is authorised for those purposes by the MHRA. E-cigarettes may be presented as an alternative to tobacco but marketers must do nothing to undermine the message that quitting tobacco use is the best option for health.”

What does any of this mean? Well, there again, as much time and effort and money that have gone into this issue, very little. It seems to come down to the fact that we claims we are now allowed to make regarding vape products is still very limited.
We’re not allowed to advertise that one range of product is safer than smoking unless we cite evidence proving it regarding that particular line of product..
Which means that the retailers of vape products such as us here at Medusa Juice can say that vaping is safer than smoking but we cannot promote any particular product and say the same.

Oh yeah, just when you thought your head was ready to explode, we have this:
According to the Advertising and Standards Agency (ASA), “When an advertiser makes broad claims about vaping, it is very likely that these claims will be tied to a particular product.” Ok, so now they’re mind readers and experts on promoting vape products both. Good to know.

We’re On The Front Lines

Furthermore, their documentation also states that the Public Health England statement that vaping is 95% safer than smoking is not going to be allowed for specific products, but makes no mention of whether this is going to be allowed for general claims. So, it is safer, a whole lot safer, but we may not be able to tell you that anymore. Is anyone else dizzy yet?
It’s beginning to look as if manufacturers will have to commission their own studies before making any health claims that could be related to their products. I am feeling the love.
And at the end of the day, we are still not allowed to make any medicinal claims. This still leads to confusion about what we are allowed to say, especially when the ASA admits that the difference can be confusing. What chance do us mere mortals have then?
The ASA do provide clarification here. Such as their stating that the words “cure”, “restore”, “prevent”, “avoid”, “fight” or “heal” are likely to be considered a medical claim. Oh, now I see, it’s all so confusing!
There will still be restrictions on products containing nicotine. E-cigs, e-liquids, and anything else which contains nicotine may not be advertised in a range of media including radio, newspapers and TV. This doesn’t apply to non-nicotine products, although that’s a bit of a minefield in itself. Is anyone still with me? for example, a non-nicotine brand cannot be advertised if there is a version of the brand which contains nicotine.
We agree, any product containing nicotine should advise consumer. But do we really need to make everything else so insanely complicated and obtuse?

Hidden amongst the text is also another change, which states that:

“BCAP has also approved two minor changes to its Code, which removes the requirement to state nicotine content and to make the e-cigarettes section permanent.”

No one is sure what that means. At present we are required to state:

This product contains nicotine.

Sadly and this is what is so frustrating, this warning has to be on devices we sell which not contain nicotine. So more than likely you see this accompanying statement: Only when used with nicotine. Can we now remove this? We’ll keep you posted if we find out.

So, Are We Better Off?

We’re dealing with these implications every day in ways these ruling authorities seem to have no awareness of, such as why the smoking rates in England have not fallen further. I can tell you with absolute certainty, that it is because many people think vaping is as bad as or worse than smoking.
This is directly related to the anti-vape campaign of disinformation coming out of certain parts of the United States tobacco companies. Previously, we haven’t legally been able to counter these campaigns so we’re still struggling to get factual data out into the world.
If you haven’t gotten totally confused and disgusted yet and are still reading, let me end this by saying. These changes are signs that good things are coming around, but that’s all I’ll commit to!

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