An advert for e-cigarette brand Nicolites has been banned for implying it could be used to help smokers quit.
Two complainants argued the poster was misleading because its strapline “Kicks Butt” could suggest it was a smoking cessation aid. They also said it could be confused with the similarly named stop-smoking campaign ‘Kick Butt’.
In its defence, Nicolites maker Nicocigs said the strapline was linked to its sponsorship of Birmingham City Football Club and alluded to kicking a football. It claimed it was unaware of the Kick Butt campaign.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today sided with the complainants, saying that the word “kick” had connotations of quitting or overcoming an addiction.
“Because we considered the ad implied that consumers could use the product for smoking cessation and we understood that the product had not been licensed by the MHRA for that purpose, we concluded that the ad breached the Code in that regard,” the ASA said.
The ASA ruled the advert could not be displayed again in its current form.
In September, the ASA banned four e-cigarette ads from four different suppliers in a set of rulings it said should provide greater clarity for the sector.