ASA blows smokes on Twisp vaping claim
The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa has blown smoke on a vaping advert that claims that it is 95% safer than smoking.
In a judgment made on April 28‚ this year‚ the authority found that a radio advertisement which aired on talk radio channel 702‚ by vaping company Twisp‚ was incorrect in its saying that vaping was safer than smoking.
According to the ASA‚ in its judgment‚ Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code of Advertising Practice “advertisers [are required] to hold evidence or verification for all efficacy claims…such evidence or verification shall either emanate from‚ or be evaluated by an independent and credible entity”.
The judgment follows a complaint by a Tertia Louw to the ASA where she disputed the claim that e-cigarettes were 95% safer than regular cigarettes‚ “arguing that this has never been proven in sound scientific peer reviewed research. She argued that this was merely another way to advertise a different way of smoking.”
In response to the complaint‚ Twisp made mention of a report that was done in England titled “E-cigarette: an evidence update. A report commissioned by Public Health England” that said that “best estimates show e-cigarette are 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes‚ and when supported by a smoking cessation service‚ help most smokers to quit tobacco altogether”.
ASA said that while it accepts the authenticity of the report‚ it still treads with caution as far as the claim is concerned. “The Directorate has to tread cautiously when dealing with health claims made in commercial advertising. It cannot be ignored that the superiority claim made is being made in relation to the respondent’s Twisp range of e-cigarettes. It should therefore hold true in relation to the respondent’s Twisp range of e-cigarettes.”
“The Public Health England report relies on one study done on a Twisp device… This appears to suggest that a Twisp e-cigarette was used (without any clarity as to which one of the five available on the market)‚ and that it showed reduced levels of “cotinine” in 13 smokers. The absence of clarity as to which device was used‚ and how the reduction in cotinine translates to a claim of being 95% healthier remains problematic‚” it says.
The ASA has subsequently found that the claim is in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code and has called for the withdrawal of the advert.