Electronic Cigarettes: Advertising

Department of Health written question – answered on 12th May 2016.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of restricting advertising on e-cigarettes on people using tobacco products.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. We know that there are now over a million people who have completely replaced smoking with e-cigarettes and that the evidence indicates that they are significantly less harmful to health than smoking.

Whilst the Government recognises the potential benefits of e-cigarettes, the quality of products on the market remains variable. It is right therefore that proportionate regulation is introduced to introduce minimum standards for safety and quality of all e-cigarettes and e-liquids and that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices. This is the aim of the regulatory framework set out in the revised Tobacco Products Directive.

The Impact Assessment that accompanied the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 assessed the expected impact of the advertising provisions on demand for e-cigarettes to be insubstantial. There is already a very high awareness of e-cigarettes and their role in replacing tobacco use amongst the public. The restrictions on advertising in certain media do not prevent businesses communicating, factually, directly to individual smokers or ex-smokers about their products, either in physical stores or internet pages under their control.

The restrictions do not prevent the publication of independently compiled reviews or discussion between users and potential users in internet forums. A balance is therefore struck between reducing exposure of children to imagery and marketing of these products and providing sufficient information to smokers wishing to use these products to support them in quit attempts.

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