Organistion to clamp down on e-cigarette advertising with enforcement notice

Organistion to clamp down on e-cigarette advertising with enforcement notice

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is set to take action against e-cigarette adverts breaking its rules, it has announced.

Issuing an Enforcement Notice to advertisers, the organisation has launched focused monitoring to find and ban what it calls “problem ads”.

The move comes amidst increased awareness of the selling of vapes and e-cigarettes to those under 18, with changes to be made to flavours and designs of products in a bid to make them less appealing to children and young people.

As they are prohibited by law to those under 18, this means that under CAP’s rules, they are also banned from being advertised in various media and cannot be targeted at children.

As part of CAP’s commitment to protecting young people from potential harms, they have been monitoring and tackling problem vaping ads appearing on social media.


Last year, they issued an Enforcement Notice to e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers requiring them to stop paid promotions on TikTok. CAP is now expanding its efforts across other social media platforms and to their social media accounts.

According to CAP’s rules, advertisers cannot directly or indirectly market nicotine-containing e-cigarettes that aren’t licensed as medicines on most social media. This means, they cannot be promoted in paid-for posts or in non-paid-for posts on non-private accounts, such as on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook.

In the few spaces where ads for vapes are allowed, such as on company websites, they must not be targeted or appeal particularly to under 18s and can only contain factual claims about products.

Following this notice, advertisers have until 28th March to ensure their ads are compliant, and after that CAP will conduct enhanced monitoring, using their Active Ad Monitoring system, to find ads which may break their rules and take action where they do.

‘Our Enforcement Notice leaves traders in no doubt about their obligations’

Shahriar Coupal, Secretary of CAP said: “The law prohibits e-cigarette ads appearing on most social media accounts, so it’s simply unacceptable for companies to advertise in these spaces.

“AI-assisted monitoring tells us that these companies are typically small traders promoting e-cigarettes through their social media accounts or incentivising others to do so, most likely in ignorance of our rules and the law.

“Our Enforcement Notice leaves traders in no doubt about their obligations under both and makes clear that e-cigarette promotions through social media channels need to stop. For those that fail to do so, we and our enforcement partners won’t hesitate to sanction them.”