Health expert critical of e-cigs TV ad

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Pic © Gloriaricardi / Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Electronic cigarette. Pic © Gloriaricardi / Wikimedia / Creative Commons

A Liverpool health expert has hit out at the decision to launch an e-cigarettes advertisement, which is to be aired on television next month.

The battery-powered devices, which do not contain tobacco, are said to be safer than smoking an ordinary cigarette even though the devices are not nicotine-free. The advert for the electronic smoking device has to follow certain restrictions given by the CAP [Committee of Advertising Practice] so tobacco isn’t shown “in a positive light” to viewers.

Liverpool has one of the highest rates of lung cancer and smoking rates in the country, with 37% of adults smoking compared to 27% nationally, according to Smoke-Free Liverpool.

The CAP has said the advert cannot target under-18s and the actors featuring in the advert will have to look older than 25 years’ old, while the e-cigarette itself is also banned from appearing in advert.

Director of Liverpool Health Partners, Dr Tom Kennedy told JMU Journalism: “It’s completely outstanding to me that the government are allowing to advertise this when we have no knowledge about the effects of these e-cigarettes for the long term.

“I recognise that there’s a big debate in the safety of the e-cigarettes. On the downside, anything that is addictive isn’t good for human health.”

Advertising tobacco is banned in the UK and the guidelines say the new advert should not encourage non-smokers to begin using e-cigarettes.

Dr Kennedy added. “There is no research on long term use on these cigarettes. We have no idea how addicted they are going to be and whether they will cause cancers and continue to be associated with lung cancer.”

About Amy Holdsworth, JMU Journalism