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Would you work with electronic cigarette brands? – media news – media week<

Cigarettes can kill: florida deputies shoot man looking for a smoke in his own driveway – hit & run :

Is it ethically justifiable to advertise electronic cigarettes? As the sector matures, the question is no longer a philosophical one.

An advertising arms race has begun as e cigarette brands look to build their market share. Last year, around f10 million was spent on ads for e cigarettes, which reported sales of nearly f200 million in the UK. Spend is expected to rise significantly over the next two years as sales boom.

Many agencies are already involved. Iris has created ads for Vype, Walker Media works on Njoy and Brothers and Sisters was recently appointed to the f20 million Skycig account.

Many argue that advertising e cigarettes is a good thing. The products can help people quit tobacco and there is no evidence that e cigarettes are harmful to health.

But others are uneasy. They say the products normalise cigarettes and fail to cure nicotine addiction. More over, there are fears that the ads could appeal to under 18s and glamorise smoking.

The emergence of e cigarettes leaves some agencies in a difficult position. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which works with Cancer Research UK and has run ads for the smoking cessation brand Nicorette, has a policy of not working with tobacco companies. But the agency refused to comment on whether it would collaborate with an e cigarette brand. The media agencies MediaCom, MEC, ZenithOptimedia and Manning Gottlieb OMD also declined to clarify their position.

Within two years, the issue will be transformed when the European Union Tobacco Products Directive is introduced in the UK.

This will class e cigarettes with less than 20mg of nicotine as tobacco products and thus unable to engage in “cross border advertising”. Those with more than 20mg must be licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Ads will then be strictly regulated and required to focus on the product s role in smoking cessation. E cigarette manufacturers have vowed to fight the directive.

Some predict a land grab, with companies advertising heavily to build their brand and market share before a clampdown. But who will be willing to take their money?