On September 16, the company AKIVA (from the manufacturer Liquidéo, disposable electronic cigarettes of the Wpuff brand), was condemned by the Paris court for illicit advertising in favor of vaping on its website and on the Instagram network. A decision hailed by the National Committee against Smoking (CNCT), at the origin of the procedure, which according to the association, marks a first blow to the brand’s particularly aggressive marketing strategies..
The CNCT seized the emergency judge in February 2022 as part of its mission of judicial vigilance entrusted by the Ministry of Health. The two websites “wpuff.com”, “wpuff.fr” and an Instagram account of the brand, intended for a French-speaking audience, had been targeted. According to the Committee, these media were devoted to the assumed promotion and active marketing of the “Wpuff” electronic vaping device, in particular to young people.
Disposable puff-type electronic cigarettes, products popular with teenagers
Disposable puff-type electronic cigarettes, which cannot be refilled, come in around fifteen sweet or fruity flavors (marshmallow, glazed grape, mango ice cream, chocolate hazelnut, etc.) in colorful and attractive packaging, reminiscent of confectionery packaging very popular with minors and young adults. These products often resemble the JUUL electronic cigarette aesthetically, comparable to a USB key, and with a design referring to new technologies. They quickly gained popularity among teenagers, propelled by social networks, including TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram. Influencers, through videos, praise the ease of use of these electronic cigarettes as well as the multitude of flavors available, creating a fashion effect in colleges and high schools. These products are often presented in equally attractive packaging, reminiscent of certain famous confectioneries and which incorporate these flavors.
The promotion of vaping products formally prohibited by the Public Health Code
Article L 3513-4 of the Public Health Code states that ” propaganda or advertising, direct or indirect, in favor of vaping products is prohibited “.
The CNCT had denounced the insertion of several illegal advertising tabs on the website and the Instagram network, in particular the association of products with food products or gourmet flavors (marshmallow, ice candy, ice cream mango, chocolate hazelnut, etc.), the “recycling program”, or even “promo codes” allowing the customer to subscribe and benefit from reductions when ordering.
A manifest violation of the law confirmed by the emergency judge who considered “As soon as therefore, the manifest violation of the ban on any advertising in favor of the said products provided for by article L. 3513-4 3° of the public health code is characterized “. Adding ” In fact, these insertions are not limited to informing the consumer about the objective and essential characteristics of vaping products, in relation to “their nature, composition, usefulness, conditions of use or terms of sale” but clearly constitute messages promotional advertising to encourage consumption of the products sold on the site “.
This promotion does not seem to be limited to the internet since the CNCT had also noted from the beginning of 2022, for information, in its barometer of advertising at points of sale, an increased promotion of puffs at points of sale. (tobacco shops, vaping stores but also in kiosks and supermarkets). These advertisements highlight the attractive prices through promotions and the diversity of flavors available. These advertisements, in numbers and visible from the outside, are mostly illegal (displays at the checkouts, stickers on the windows, large posters, etc.).
Keywords: CNCT, condemnation, public health code, illegal advertising, Instagram,
©Tobacco Free Generation
 Press release, The CNCT condemns the site “Wpuff.com” for illicit advertising in favor of vaping, CNCT, published on September 20, 2022, consulted on September 21, 2022
National Anti-Smoking Committee |