Three e-cigarette ads have been banned just weeks after advertising rules were relaxed to allow them to be shown on TV.

The Advertising Standard Agency (ASA) argued that two adverts for VIP Electronic Cigarettes glamourised tobacco, therefore breaking guidelines allowing the broadcast of e-cig commercials. It said there were concerns that the ads would appeal to under-18s and encourage non-smokers to take up the e-cig habit.

Since November, manufacturers have been allowed to advertise the use of e-cigarettes on TV, as long as they do not promote tobacco or target non-smokers or young people.

VIP ecig TV advert

The advertising watchdog received more than 200 complaints about the ads, although they don’t show regular tobacco being used. E-cig manufacturer Must Have, which trades as VIP Electronic Cigarettes, said its adverts were sufficiently clear it was an e-cigarette and not regular tobacco being smoked.

ASA said: “We considered that the manner in which the vapour was exhaled and the heightened focus on this action created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking.”

“Because the ads presented it, as the central focus of the ads, in a sultry and glamorous way, we considered that they indirectly promoted the use of tobacco products.”

Meanwhile, an ad for KiK e-cigarettes, made by Vape Nation, was banned after receiving seven complaints. It depicted a man ‘vaping’ the product in an outdoor restaurant saying he preferred them to normal cigarettes. The ad was banned for encouraging former smokers to use them.