Where is the border of e-cigarette advertising everywhere?

  "Effectively solve the problem of smoking cessation" "damage reduction by 95%"...

  Advertisements for e-cigarette products can be seen everywhere in shopping malls and on the side of the road. It is common to see huge heads of people with leisurely expressions.

Can e-cigarettes be advertised?

Where is the boundary of e-cigarette advertising content?

Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News reporter noted that Shenzhen, Chengdu and other places have already issued bans on offline e-cigarette advertisements, but because the relevant regulations on managing e-cigarettes in accordance with cigarettes are still seeking opinions, offline e-cigarette advertisements are still relatively common .

  Some people in the industry believe that the prohibition of e-cigarette advertising has actually equated e-cigarettes with traditional cigarettes, but the current ban is still “unable to follow”; some lawyers have analyzed that the current "Advertising Law" is already sufficient to restrict e-cigarette advertising .


  Various offline e-cigarette advertisements

  Merchants use tape to cover words such as "cigarette" and "quit smoking"

  Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News reporters visited offline and found that in a "FLOW" e-cigarette experience store near Dongda Road in Chengdu, some words on the poster were covered by black tape: "Compared with the frequently smoked xx, there is less harm to the human body. 95%", "Available to assist xx", "E-cigarette smokes if you love your family and care for your wife and your body" (xx is the covered part).

  The owner told reporters that the posters in the store are promotional materials produced uniformly by the manufacturers. The franchise stores can choose the poster style by themselves, but the content is the same.

In May of this year, the shopkeeper received a notice from the manufacturer asking him to cover up a few words.

"The words'cigarette' and'quit smoking' are obscured. This is the requirement of the manufacturer. The purchase of electronic cigarettes is basically aimed at the characteristics of safety and smoking cessation."

  Just downstairs of the store, a poster outside another e-cigarette store reads "Three Steps to Quit Smoking".

"This is our recent summer promotion poster. It mainly introduces preferential activities such as replacing e-cigarettes with cigarettes and redemption of cigarette sticks from other brands. The'Quit Smoking Trilogy' is also a selling point of our family, from adapting to e-cigarettes to the final Get rid of cigarettes and use electronic cigarettes." The clerk said.

  The reporter saw a 1 meter wide and 2 meter high advertising light box standing at the entrance in the Xidan shopping mall on Qingjiang West Road.

The on-site sales staff told reporters that the promotional materials are mainly roll-up banners, sticky posters, and light boxes. The advertising copy is determined by the manufacturer, but the content is similar.

"Previous advertisers focused on health, but now they focus more on taste. Emphasis on health may cause misunderstandings."

  In Qingyang Wanda Plaza, there is also an "Electronic Atomization Life Museum" that uses "Chinese Valentine's Day" to launch preferential activities. The four characters "buy one get one free" on the billboard outside the store attract many passersby.

The clerk said: "The number of customers who come to experience the Chinese Valentine's Day is 3 to 4 times as many as usual, and they may even be too busy at night."

  Some parents told reporters that they would deliberately avoid e-cigarette shops when shopping with their children.

"The advertisements of e-cigarette merchants are eye-catching, worrying that children lack resistance to such inexpensive and stylish electronic products."


  Looking forward to clearer legal regulations

  On March 22 this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the "Draft for Soliciting Opinions on the Modification of the Implementation Regulations of the Tobacco Monopoly Law". A key article was added to the supplementary clause, that is, "e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products shall be implemented with reference to the relevant regulations on cigarettes in this Regulation."

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology stated that this will greatly enhance the effectiveness of e-cigarette supervision and effectively regulate e-cigarette production and operation activities.

  An industry insider who has been in the e-cigarette industry for more than 6 years told reporters that the industry is waiting for clearer policies and is also actively striving for greater business space, including e-cigarette management and advertising forms.

  “E-cigarettes can be divided into two types: heating type and atomizing type. The heating type has been included in cigarette management in 2017, but the current regulatory policy has not equated atomized electronic cigarettes with traditional cigarettes. This is also the reason for this. The key reason for the inequality between e-cigarettes and cigarettes at the regulatory level. As Internet sales channels have been completely blocked, offline has become the'main battlefield' for e-cigarette sales. Merchants will continue to explore the boundaries between advertising content and advertising forms offline."

  The industry insider told reporters that in 2005, China’s first-generation e-cigarette "Ruyan" was born and used to assist smoking cessation as a selling point, but in the second year its advertisements containing the words "quit smoking" were defined as "false propaganda."

Since then, Chinese e-cigarette advertisements have been accused of "exaggerating efficacy" and "false publicity", but because the "Advertising Law" clearly prohibits tobacco products, and e-cigarettes have not yet been equated with tobacco products, there is a regulatory level Must be vacant.

In 2019, after the "Notice on Further Protecting Minors from E-cigarettes" was issued, e-cigarette products completely lost online sales channels, and they were unable to publish advertisements on the Internet. The focus has shifted to offline market expansion, and local governments have gradually Focus on the governance of offline e-cigarette advertising.

  Chen Gulong, the founder of the e-cigarette industry media steam fan, told Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News that advertising has a special advertising law and tobacco advertising is not allowed, but if e-cigarettes cannot be advertised, it means the management of e-cigarettes. In fact, it is regarded as tobacco, although no clear regulations in this area have been seen yet.

  "Some leading e-cigarette companies are grabbing large shopping malls. The existence of these stores is also an advertising activity. From this perspective, it is not practical to ban e-cigarette advertising. At the same time, local governments are restricting this aspect. Time will also be affected by the traditional tobacco industry. As a large taxpayer, the traditional tobacco industry is under great pressure in the face of the expansion of new tobacco products.” Chen Gulong believes that before the national level has equated e-cigarettes with traditional tobacco, local governments The restrictions on e-cigarette advertising can be said to be "unreliable" to say the least.

As for whether e-cigarettes can be advertised, it is necessary to return to the fundamental issue of whether e-cigarettes are tobacco or not. It is hoped that the policy can be clarified earlier so that other issues can be clarified.

  Cui Xiaobo, secretary general of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said that the construction of a tobacco control environment and smoke-free legislation is an important source of motivation for quitters.

Smoke-free environmental legislation, warning cigarette packaging, raising tobacco taxes and cigarette prices, banning tobacco advertising and promotion policies, can all encourage smokers to quit smoking.


  The current "Advertising Law" can

  Restrictions on e-cigarette advertising

  Lu Qiuyu, a lawyer at Gao Wen Law Firm, cited the provisions of the "Advertising Law" in his paper "E-cigarette Advertising Attributes and Its Control". Strict restrictions should be imposed on its sales and advertising.

  The article mentioned that Article 10 of the Advertising Law stipulates that “advertisements shall not harm the physical and mental health of minors and disabled persons”; , Advertisers, advertising operators, and advertising publishers shall bear civil liabilities in accordance with the law.” Article 40 stipulates that “medical treatment, medicine, health food, medical equipment... Online game advertisements for the physical and mental health of minors".

Therefore, in order to protect the physical and mental health of minors, strict prohibitions on the sale of e-cigarettes should be adopted, and advertisers, advertising operators, and advertising publishers must bear major legal risks.


  Introduced regulations to restrict e-cigarette advertising

  "False advertising" as a basis for punishment

  In fact, when formulating or revising tobacco control regulations, various localities in the country are gradually bringing e-cigarettes and e-cigarette advertisements into the scope of control.

  The "Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Regulations on Smoking Control" came into effect on March 1, 2014. In 2019, the regulations clearly stipulated the prohibition or disguised publishing of tobacco advertisements, and included e-cigarettes in tobacco products for control and control. Since then, they have been issued in Shenzhen It is illegal to publish e-cigarette advertisements in disguised form.

In November 2020, Shenzhen issued the first domestic e-cigarette advertising ticket. Violating advertisements included "strongly relieve addiction, refreshing; small size, easy to carry; no interruption, no soot; tar removal, easier", "Every bite is smooth." "Slip and refreshing" and other content.

  Last month, during a joint inspection of special operations, Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province, found that there was an e-cigarette advertisement on a three-dimensional light box. Hand smoke hazards".

Later, according to the "Advertising Law", the parties were ordered to immediately stop publishing illegal advertisements, and an administrative penalty of 4 times the advertising cost was imposed. The legal provisions cited were aimed at false advertisements rather than tobacco advertisements.

  In March of this year, the Office of the Chengdu Patriotic Health Campaign Committee issued the "Notice on Further Strengthening the Work of Tobacco Control in Public Places", clearly requesting that smoking should be banned in indoor public places, workplaces and public transportation, and a total smoking ban should be implemented. The objectives include the prohibition of any form of tobacco (including e-cigarette) advertising.

Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News Reporter Ye Yan and Wang Peizhe