Vaping products - tightening rules on advertising and promoting: consultation analysis

EKOS was commissioned to undertake an independent analysis of responses to tightening rules on advertising and vaping products. The report presents the findings from the public consultation and explains the methodology that was used to analyse responses.

7 Sponsorship of an Activity, Event or Person

7.1 Question 6 – Sponsorship agreements

The Scottish Government intends to prohibit entering into an agreement with an individual, group or business for the purpose of promoting a vape product. Vape products should not be associated with clubs, events, activities, individuals or groups. Vaping companies have, as their tobacco counterparts did in the UK previously, already entered sponsorship agreements with premium sporting clubs and activities. The Scottish Government propose that restrictions be introduced to prohibit sponsorship of activities, events or individuals here in Scotland. This restriction would limit the awareness of non-smokers and young people of vape products, to ensure that these are not seen as a lifestyle product.

Do you support the proposal to make sponsorship agreements in respect of vaping products an offence?

Table A6 (Appendix A) provides the quantitative response to Question 6.

There are relatively mixed views among respondents:

  • 44.9% of all respondents support the proposal to make sponsorship agreements in respect of vaping products an offence. The level of support among organisation respondents is higher than among individual respondents (73.0% and 43.5%). Among organisation respondents this includes local government and health organisations.
  • 48.7% of all respondents do not support the proposal. Individuals are more likely than organisations to not support the proposal (50.2% and 18.9% respectively). Among organisation respondents this includes the tobacco industry and the vaping sector.

7.1.1 Respondents who support the proposal

Just over one-tenth of respondents who support the proposal to make sponsorship agreements in respect of vaping products an offence provide further explanation.

Theme 1: Uptake by children, young people, and non-smokers

The most common theme to emerge from consultation responses (primarily health organisations and some individuals) is that a ban in sponsorship is necessary to protect children and non-smokers from being exposed to vape product advertising. These respondents express concern that vape products sponsoring sports teams, music events or nightclubs could glamourise vaping and encourage uptake amongst young people and non-smokers.

“There are many examples of music events and sports being sponsored by vaping brands; for example, nzoVape have sponsored music festivals across the UK, such as PierJam on Blackpool North Pier. Whilst some of these events are 18+, not all are, younger people have opportunities to view e-cigarette brands promoted via social media and viral influencing.”

ASH Scotland

“Sponsorship agreements, such as the partnership highlighted between a business and a Scottish football team, help to legitimise marketing tactics aimed at young people.”

Asthma + Lung UK Scotland

Theme 2: There should be similar restrictions to tobacco

Another common theme among individual respondents who support the proposal is that vaping products should be treated the same as tobacco and therefore sponsorship should be banned. A belief among these respondents is that vaping is as harmful as smoking or that tobacco companies would use it as a loophole to get around the ban on tobacco sponsorship.

7.1.2 Respondents who do not support the proposal

Just over one-fifth of respondents who did not support the proposal to make sponsorship agreements in respect of vaping products an offence provide further explanation.

Theme 1: A need to promote the benefits of vaping

A common theme among these respondents (primarily from individuals, but also from the vaping sector and tobacco industry) is that if sponsorship encourages the take up of vaping amongst adult smokers, then that is a positive thing (e.g. as a route to stop smoking, denormalise tobacco products).

“A smokefree society needs all the help it can get the promotion of said products can only be a good thing in reaching as many smokers as possible”.


“If a vaping brand is associated with a popular event or another popular non-vaping product, it will encourage smokers to trial that product, much in the same way any type of sponsorship does, and this should be encouraged”.


Theme 2: Other harmful products

Another common view (e.g. among individual respondents) is that restrictions on sponsorship for vaping do not make sense when sponsorship for other harmful products, such as alcohol, junk food or gambling, are allowed.

Theme 3: Sponsorship for events and products aimed at adults

It is further noted, from individual respondents, the vaping sector and tobacco industry, that sponsorship should only be allowed on events or products that are primarily aimed at over 18s, and that sponsorship of a club, event or activity that is primarily aimed at, or has a particular appeal to under 18s should not be allowed.

Some vaping and tobacco companies feel that a ban on sponsorship agreements would limit awareness of vaping products to current smokers and appropriate safeguards for children can be brought in without a strict ban.



Back to top