In their recent webinar, “A National Conversation on Marketing Standards: Industry Wake Up Call” the VTA provides a series of appropriate guiding principles on how to best comply with the FDA deeming rule. The advice serves as a basic platform to follow in order to avoid any potential actions narrowed in on your business and brand by the FDA — or even the FTC in some cases.
Guidelines and Principles Offered by VTA
- No Appeal to Minors. Marketing of Vapor Products should not include content which is directed towards Minors. In establishing their marketing, VTA Members should consider that content which may appeal or be directed to Minors could include, without limitation, the following: (a) product names, (b) cartoons, (c) other imagery; and (d) promotional items.
- Intended Audience for Marketing. Marketing for Vapor Products should not be directed at Minors and no channel of marketing should be employed if more than 15% of its audience is Minors. This restriction includes, but is not necessarily limited to, TV, print and radio advertising, as well as event marketing or sponsorships. For regional (local, city or state) advertising, content must be directed to persons who meet or exceed the specific region’s age of majority.
- No Improper Use of Trademarks or Trade Dress. VTA Members should have a zero tolerance policy for Vapor Products that use in commerce names, imagery or designs that intentionally mimic, play upon, invoke or otherwise infringe upon existing trademarks, trade names or trade dress, particularly if they are associated with products that are or were primarily marketed to Minors.
- No Smoking Cessation Claims. Vapor Products should not be portrayed as any sort of smoking cessation device or as a product which may be used to help quit smoking.
- No Claims Regarding Health or Safety. Vapor Products should not be marketed as providing a therapeutic value, as being safe or healthy for consumers, or as products which do not produce secondhand health effects.
- No Modified Risk Descriptors or Claims. Vapor Products should not be marketed or sold using modified risk descriptors or claims (e.g., “light,” “low,” and/ or “mild”). By way of example only, Vapor Products should not be marketed as (a) having no ash or smoke, (b) having no tar, (c) being less harmful, (d) posing lower risk of disease or (e) as containing reduced or zero levels of harmful ingredients,85% Adult participation at events
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- Ingredients. VTA Members should accurately represent the ingredients contained in their Vapor Products and, in particular, the ingredients contained in any e- liquid. Deceiving any consumer regarding the contents of the Vapor Products is strictly prohibited.
- Product Sampling. VTA Members shall ensure that all product sampling is restricted to adults and follows all applicable laws.
- No Health Professionals. VTA Members should not use health professionals to market or otherwise endorse their Vapor Products, directly or indirectly.
- No Marketing to Non-Tobacco Users. Vapor Product marketing should be intentionally directed towards those who are current users of tobacco products and should not be designed to encourage non-tobacco users to start using Vapor Products.
- Spokespeople. VTA Members shall ensure contracted spokespeople and individuals endorsing Vapor Products on the company’s behalf must be and appear to be at least 25 years of age.
- Billboards. Billboard advertisements used for the purpose of promoting or marketing Vapor Products shall not be physically located within 500 feet of any elementary or secondary school, youth oriented facility, or childcare facility.
Steady Pace of Progress
Practice does not make perfect, but it does create a steady pace toward progress. The VTA has undoubtedly participated in active advocacy efforts at the national level, presenting possible solutions with federal policymakers. It is without a doubt, that the Vapor Technology Association has the most notable experience in dealing with such matters.
From the webinar, to a national conversation on marketing standards, followed by a detailed list of basic guidelines to apply to how your vape business operates within this adult industry, a pattern has emerged among the vaping industry.
The pattern appears to be suggesting it is time to embrace an organized system for all brands within the vaporsphere to follow as necessary rules towards compliance, as there have become serious regulatory expectations.
Not to mention, it is best if advocates and industry professionals insist on working, side-by-side.
For more information about the Webinar, see link listed below.
The VTA has long-term goals they have been working towards posted on their website homepage. From the guidelines the VTA has listed as their recommended marketing standards, we are able to see how these standards align with the bigger picture they have been striving towards from the start.
“Keep the vaping markets open and competitive for both small and big players”
“Ensure the long-term viability of the industry”
“Defeat bills that stifle innovation critical to public health.”
“Transform the public debate on vapor products”
As Marketing Standards become more and more significant areas of concern, it is without a doubt, a necessity for the vaping industry to develop some sort of system with appropriate guidelines to follow as the FDA will only increase its activity sending out warning letters based on businesses using irresponsible branding practices.