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British American tobacco is accused of using legal loopholes to provide e-cigarette samples to minors

2021/02/23|Industry news

According to vapingpost, action on smoking and health, a British charity, recently found a 17-year-old girl working in a market stall through a marketing company and provided her with a free sample of vype e-cigarettes.

British American tobacco is accused of using legal loopholes to provide e-cigarette samples to minors

According to British law, companies selling e-cigarettes can distribute samples free of charge through third-party marketing companies to promote their products. However, health entities in the UK point out that there are loopholes in the current regulatory framework, which means that it is legal for marketing companies to issue e-cigarettes to minors.

Ash points out that a marketing team promoting vype recently found a 17-year-old girl and provided a free sample. Before getting the product, the girl was not told that the product contained nicotine and was not asked to verify her age.

Deborah Arnott, ash's chief executive, said: "the hypocrisy of British American tobacco is shocking. The company's website devoutly says that" it is crucial that no tobacco or nicotine product be sold to young people. Considering the nature of our products, we take our commitment seriously to sell responsibly and only to adults. "How can they say that giving free gifts to children like candy is responsible marketing?"

In approaching national trade standards to verify that the legal framework is in place, ash learned that loopholes in the law mean that it is not illegal to distribute free e-cigarettes to minors. This is because e-cigarettes are not regulated tobacco products in the UK and therefore are not covered by the "no free distribution" rule of the tobacco advertising and promotion act.

Ash pointed out that in terms of prohibiting the distribution of free products to minors, the relevant sections of the tobacco and related products act on e-cigarettes are too vague.

"The law requires a review of the regulations and it is expected to start soon," Arnold said. We have written to the Minister of public health to make her aware of the loophole in the government's e-cigarette law and urge her to use this review to fill this loophole. This is another example of big tobacco's inconsistency between words and deeds. "

In response to these claims, bat shifted the responsibility to the marketing companies they used.

"We are very serious about preventing minors from contacting smokers' products, and it is clear that these products are only suitable for adult smokers and nicotine users," bat said in a statement. Our one-on-one consumer engagement in the UK market is conducted by a widely trained third-party supplier to ensure that the participants are only over 18 years old, are current smokers and are informed that the product contains nicotine. We are talking to our third party suppliers about this so-called incident. "

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