Healthy and General

ASA bans advertising claims with health subtext

2 min read

The online retailer sells “crushable flavoured balls”​ that users insert into the filter of a cigarette to alter the flavour and advertisers the product alongside the claim “safe to use made with lab-tested organic ingredients”.

A complaint was submitted to the authority that raised concerns about the irresponsible nature of a product demonstration video that promotes smoking and featured on Facebook in January.

It also challenged the use of both the video and “safe to use..” claim on the brand website, as well as two additional claims with potential misleading and irresponsible content: “smokepops are formulated with organic essential oils, a healthy option that leaves your tastebuds excited and wanting more,​” and “made with optimum ingredients for optimum health​”.

The complainant particularly objected to the wording “safe to use​”, “optimum health​”, and a “healthy option​”, because the product is intended for use while smoking cigarettes.

Misleading and irresponsible

When presented with the complaint, Smokepops maintained it did not intend to promote harmful or unhealthy behaviour and assured the authority that the manufacturer held the relevant safety certification and ingredient quality assurance to support the claims under dispute.

Nevertheless, it agreed to amend the content and remove the claims under investigation.

The ASA subsequently upheld all three complaints. It considered that showing a cigarette in the video demonstration “had the effect of encouraging smoking​” and concluded the ads were irresponsible under CAP Code rule 1.3., which relates to social responsibility and states that “marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society​”.