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ASA Adjudication on Healthy & Beauty Innovations Ltd [United Kingdom] [October 29, 2014]
A website for NicoBloc said that the product could help with nicotine addiction by blocking up to 99% of nicotine and tar. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that the ads violated the country’s Advertising Code because they claimed that the product could be used to treat nicotine addiction without being a licensed medical device. The ASA also concluded that the tests used to determine the product’s ability to block nicotine and tar were not sufficient to support the ad’s claims and the ads were therefore misleading. The ASA ordered the company not to use the ads again in their current form and required the company to provide robust documentary evidence to support smoking cessations claims in the future.
ASA Adjudication on E&L Distributors [United Kingdom] [August 13, 2014]
A bus shelter ad for e-cigarettes contained the text “LOVE YOUR LUNGS.” In response to a complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the ad and determined that the claim “LOVE YOUR LUNGS” had not been substantiated and was misleading. The ASA found that the ad could be interpreted to mean that the e-cigarettes are not harmful or that users experience improved lung health if they used the company’s product. The ASA also found that the claim could be interpreted to mean that the e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The ASA ordered the company not to repeat the statement or to make any claims that their products are not harmful or are beneficial to the health of users’ lungs unless they have sufficient evidence to substantiate such a claim.
ASA Adjudication on Gallaher Ltd [United Kingdom] [July 30, 2014]
A tobacco company ad included an email from the UK Department of Health saying that “there isn’t any hard evidence” to show that plain packaging of tobacco products is effective. Below the email the ad stated: “WE COULDN’T HAVE PUT IT BETTER OURSELVES” followed by the name of the tobacco company. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the ad was misleading. The ASA ruled that the ad implied that no real evidence existed to support the introduction of plain packaging at the time the ad appeared in 2013; however, the email was written in 2011. The ASA noted that because evidence did exist to support the introduction of plain packaging in 2013 the ad was likely to mislead. The ASA ordered the company that the ad must not appear in current form again.
ASA Adjudication on Department of Health [United Kingdom] [July 30, 2014]
An ad for the National Health Service smoke-free campaign claimed that “every 15 cigarettes you smoke will cause a mutation,” which is how cancer starts. In response to a number of complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the claim and found that it was backed by scientific evidence and was not likely to be misleading. Therefore, the ASA found that the ad did not violate the country’s advertising code.
Love Care Foundation v. Union of India [India] [July 21, 2014]
A non-governmental organization seeking to reduce smoking among Indian youths petitioned the Indian government to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products. The organization argued that attractive packaging is a form of advertisement and sought a rule prohibiting the use of logos, colors, or brand names on tobacco product packaging. After reviewing evidence supporting the impact of a tobacco plain packaging law in Australia and a study of plain packaging in Brazil, the court concluded that plain packaging and health warnings reduce the ability of attractive packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking. The court urged the Indian government to consider the feasibility of implementing the plain packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products as early as possible.
Boruski v. Crescent Housing Authority [Canada] [May 30, 2014]
Residents of subsidized housing for seniors and people with disabilities sued the nonprofit Housing Society that managed the housing for discrimination based on their physical disabilities. The residents claimed that the Housing Society failed to reasonably accommodate their disabilities by exposing them to secondhand smoke, which exacerbated their disabilities. The court dismissed the complaint, finding that that the Housing Society took reasonable steps to accommodate the residents and limit their exposure to secondhand smoke, including offering different units for relocation, adopting a smoking policy, changing the lease agreement for new tenants to prohibit smoking, maintaining and inspecting the ventilation system, and moving a “smoking pit” farther away from the building. The court said that the steps taking by the Housing Society were reasonable and that residents sought a “perfect and preferred” accommodation rather than a reasonable accommodation.
ASA Adjudication on Vapourlites Ltd [United Kingdom] [April 02, 2014]
An advertisement and website for e-cigarettes showed a hand dressed like Santa and claimed that the product is “recommended by Santa and pharmacies nationwide” and is “a harm reduction alternative to smoking.” The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that the claims “recommended by . . . pharmacies nationwide” and “a harm reduction alternative to smoking” were misleading and not supported by evidence. Although e-cigarettes are sold in a majority of pharmacies, the ad suggested that their products were endorsed or promoted by pharmacies, and the ASA had not seen evidence to support this claim. The ASA also ruled that the reference to Santa was not irresponsible because the ads were not primarily targeted at children and merely depicted Santa’s hand. The ASA ordered that the ads must not appear again in their current form and the company’s future advertising must not include the disputed claims unless substantiated with robust evidence.
ASA Adjudication on E-Cigilicious [United Kingdom] [April 02, 2014]
An ad for e-cigarettes stated: “a safer . . . alternative to smoking” and “help your loved ones change their life this Christmas.” The ad featured a woman wearing a Santa hat. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concluded that the claim “a safer . . . alternative to smoking” had not been substantiated and was misleading because the company had not provided evidence showing that their own e-cigarettes were less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The ASA also found that ad implied that e-cigarettes could be used as a smoking cessation device but that these particular e-cigarettes had not been licensed by the government for this purpose and was likely to mislead. The ASA found that the ad was not likely to appeal to children given that it was common for ads to contain references to Christmas during that time of year and the model in the ad was over 18 years old. The ASA ordered the ad not to appear again in its current form.
ASA Adjudication on Gallaher Ltd (A12-208266) [United Kingdom] [March 26, 2014]
A series of print ads by a tobacco company claimed that the British government had rejected a proposal to require plain packaging of cigarettes in 2008 due to lack of evidence. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the tobacco company ads to be misleading because the word “rejected” overstated the government’s actions. Instead, the ASA found that the government had kept the proposal for plain packaging under review to be considered at a later date. However, the ASA found that the tobacco company did back up its claim that there was a lack of evidence in 2008 that plain packaging would prevent young people from starting to smoke. The ASA ordered the tobacco company not to claim that the government had “rejected” the policy of plain packaging for cigarettes in 2008.
ASA Adjudication on Ten Motives Ltd [United Kingdom] [March 12, 2014]
A leaflet claimed that e-cigarettes are “the healthier smoking alternative” and that “you can still enjoy smoking without worrying about the effects on your health”. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the claims in the ad to be misleading because the e-cigarette company had not provided any documentation or studies comparing the effects of their product to smoking or on the user’s health. The ASA ordered the company not to claim that their products are less harmful than smoking or that they do not have any negative effects on the user’s health without sufficient evidence.