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Ads for Elfbar vapes banned over misleading information

A recent ad for Elfbar vapes in the UK has been by the Advertising Standards Authority following several complaints about the misleading claims. 

The ad, which was used on digital billboards and posters earlier this year, stated “Recycling for a greener future”. However, the complaints, two of which came from Imperial Tobacco and Adfree Cities, claim that this is misleading consumers about the environmental benefits.

Most consumers have found that there are limited options for recycling disposable vapes like Elfbar, and the ASA pointed out that around 70% of people currently throw them away. Elfbar, on the other hand, said that the purpose of the ad was to encourage more users to recycle. 

The company added that the ad wasn’t intended to be a claim about the environmental impact of its products and that it wasn’t suggesting there were environmental benefits. It also said that some vape shops now have dedicated Elfbar recycling bins, which work in partnership with a lithium-ion battery and vape recycling company to recycle all the components. 

However, the ASA says that the ad was misleading and “for a greener future” suggests the product has environmental benefits compared with other vapes, which isn’t true. The agency added that there are still limited recycling options available. 

The ASA said in a statement: “We acknowledged Elfbar’s intention was for the ads to educate and encourage consumers to recycle, and that they would be undertaking initiatives that would increase consumers’ ability to do so. 

However, because consumers would understand from the ads that they would be able to recycle Elfbar’s single-use vapes through a wide variety of routes, including easily accessible routes such as home recycling provisions when that was not the case, we concluded the ads were misleading. 

We considered that the inaccurate impression that the products were fully recyclable combined with the claim ‘for a greener future’ exaggerated the environmental benefit of the products and was therefore likely to mislead consumers. We told Elfbar to ensure their future ads made the basis of environmental claims clear and did not mislead as to the environmental impact or benefit of their products.”

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