Adverts for the vape brand Elf Bar that used the slogan “recycling for a greener future” have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being environmentally misleading.
The slogan appeared alongside the words “green awareness” and was plastered across London buses and a digital billboard ad in July and August.
The ruling comes after ten complainants, including Adfree Cities and Imperial Tobacco Ltd, argued that the adverts were misleading because they did not make clear there were only limited recycling options for the products, and that they were misleading about the environmental benefits of the product.
Adfree Cities also argued that the adverts misleadingly highlighted an environmental benefit resulting from a legal obligation to which competing products were also subject.
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Elfbar claimed that consumers would interpret “Recycling for a greener future” to mean that they were encouraging the recycling of vapes and vaping products.
However, the ASA considered that the adverts would be of most relevance and interest to consumers who were interested in purchasing the advertised products.
It also said that while the intention was educational, consumers would likely expect ELFBAR products to be easily recyclable upon seeing the adverts.
Adfree Cities campaigner James Ward said: “Just as cigarettes scar the bodies of smokers, so has the rise in popularity of disposable vapes left a toxic legacy of plastic and harmful battery metals on our environment.”
“Advertising for nicotine-containing vapes is prohibited on TV, radio, in print and online. That it is permitted on outdoor advertising is a glaring loophole in the law and highlights how outdoor advertising sadly so often provides a willing platform for polluting companies.”
“That’s why we’re calling for a universal ban on vape advertising, a measure that will close the existing loophole in the law and go some way to reducing the presence of these environmentally disastrous products on our streets and in our lives”.