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After an anonymous formal complaint was lodged regarding adverts displayed on the Discount Code section of Planet of the Vapes’ site in January 2018, the Advertising Standards Agency have ruled that no further action is necessary, and that POTV – the publisher and CloudStix – the product lines that were the focus of the advertisements, had committed no breach of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations section of The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
The following statement can be found at the top of the Discount Code page: “The discount codes on this page are not to be used for the purchase of unlicensed
However, a formal investigation was pursued in relation to CloudStix. A draft recommendation in relation to this advert took until October to complete, and, by mid-November, both POTV and Cloudstixlearned that a conclusion had been drawn. This conclusion was that the advert did not breach regulations, due to the fact that the discount code in question only functioned on CloudStix.com for non-TPD products – a process that ASA tested themselves. The organisation also took note of
While we were warned that the ASA Council may “
ASA’s ruling stated: “The complainant challenged whether the ad promoted e-cigarettes and their products on online media, a medium in which promoting unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components were prohibited, and therefore breached the Code.”
“CloudStix.com highlighted the qualification on the webpage, which stated that the discount codes on the page were not to be used for the purchase of unlicensed nicotine containing products or their components. They considered the ad did not promote such products, because the page clearly stated the opposite.”
ASA said CloudStix “had taken great efforts to ensure that any unlicensed nicotine-containing products on their site, which required notification to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), could not have the discount code in the ad applied to them. They said a filter algorithm limited which products or categories the code could be used on, and it would not apply to any products which fell under the Tobacco Products Directive.”
ASA also acknowledged that POTV “highlighted the qualification at the top of the discount codes webpage on which the ad appeared. They said the qualification meant they were actively telling visitors to their site that the codes were not to be used for purchasing unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or their components.”
It noted: “Planet of the Vapes provided an email they had previously sent to all advertisers on their website which advised them to ensure the discount codes did not apply to unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or their components. They said they were also very careful to ensure that the advertisers featured in ads on their website were only general vendors of
ASA’s council concluded: “Because the ad featured a qualification at the top of the page which indicated that the discount code could not be used on unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or e-liquids, and because the discount code could not indeed be used on those products, we concluded that the ad did not have the direct or indirect effect of promoting them, and was therefore not in breach of the Code.”
Toby added: “The outcome is good as it gives some clarity on the use of discount codes in the vaping industry, they are acceptable as long as it is clear that the code is not to be used with TPDcaught products.”
DarrenSharples, a director and founder of CloudStix.com Ltd., said: “Having worked with Planet of the vapes for many years now, we are delighted that the ASA and the ASA council have recognised both Planet of the Vapes and CloudStix as upstanding entities within the vape industry that take promotion of vaping very seriously when it comes to working within the law and guidelines.”
“The work we’ve done to make our website watertight for all the regulations that now affect our industry has paid off. We are delighted the ASA chose to put cloudStix.com to the test – which passed without fail. My thanks go to our technical team, who implemented the safeguarding features demonstrated in this case well before they ever came to be called upon,” added Darren.
“We were shocked when we were first made aware that a complaint had been made regarding the discount code. The ruling is justice for our company which has a wonderful, long-standing reputation within the vape community, and has made many friends within the industry.”
“Finally, we would like to thank POTV for their support during this investigation. We would also like to thank the ASA for coming to a sensible conclusion. It has been a worrying time, but thankfully we can now all enjoy Christmas.”
The ASA has recently revised its outlook on vape advertisements that make claims regarding health. The rules of both the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice
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