Publishing Regulated Product advertisements is prohibited

Publishing Regulated Product advertisements is prohibited  

This is the first of ongoing Compliance Alerts from the VRA as we begin to publish regular compliance related updates and guidance to the regulated sector.  

Following complaints and compliance surveillance monitoring, the Vaping Regulatory Authority (the Authority) has become aware of advertising that appears to be prohibited under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990.  

This Compliance Alert is in relation to possible advertising breaches under the Act by a range of parties, including Specialist Vape Retailers (including Approved Internet Sites and Approved Retail Premises), manufacturers and importers, with prohibited advertising on websites, and/or advertisements via other online platforms, and in stores.  

The Authority is concerned that potential breaches appear to be widespread.  Some businesses in breach of the Act may be unclear of their obligations so we have reiterated requirements of the Act in the appendix to this Alert.  

This Alert is an opportunity for businesses to remedy their breach. Cases of non-compliance, if not addressed, compromise the integrity and fairness of the regulatory system.  

What the law says 

It is prohibited to encourage the use, promote the sale, or notify the availability of regulated products, including vaping products by publishing a regulated product advertisement. under Subpart 1—Restrictions on advertising of regulated products and related communications.  

Examples of offences 

We have identified the following forms of advertising that appear to be common among potential breaches:  

  • Words/images that encourage the use, promote the sale, or notify the availability of vaping products, in a manner not compliant with the Act and Regulations 
  • Persuasive language that appears to promote the product in non-factual ways 
  • Advertising and posting on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter  
  • Online blog posts that encourage the use, promote the sale, or notify the availability of vaping products 

Action required 

We encourage good compliance practice and expect that industry will voluntarily remedy any issues when these are raised by the Authority. The Authority’s general approach to compliance and enforcement of the Act is to give you the opportunity to review your obligations and make sure you comply with the law.   

If you are breaching the prohibited product advertising requirements, you should take immediate steps to meet your obligations.   

Failure to comply may result in further compliance action.  

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

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