The BBC reports that the ASA is reviewing complaints made against disposable vape adverts. The ads appeared on London's transport network, and complainants believe they give out "misleading" environmental messages.
The adverts feature the words "Recycling for a greener future".
Single-use e-cigarettes, usually made of plastic and powered by a lithium battery, have been criticised for littering the streets of Britain in recent months and years, and even for being a hazard to bin lorries. It is estimated that around a million disposable vapes are thrown away in the UK every week.
In this case, those who have complained about the ad have challenged whether the plastic vapes are recyclable at all; or, if they are recyclable, whether they can be easily and readily recycled.
Transport for London (TfL) said it worked with advertisers to ensure all campaigns fell within the rules - so we must assume they are recyclable in some way. However, if they cannot be disposed of in ordinary recycling (which seems likely) this would be a significant condition that would need to be spelled out in the ad in order for it to stand a chance of being defensible.
The ASA takes a 'cradle to grave' approach when considering green claims, and is generally sceptical of very broad/vague green claims, such as "for a greener future". It's unlikely that manufacturing and distributing single-use plastic vapes will contribute to a greener future, even if recycling those that are recyclable will help mitigate some of the damage done to to the environment. A sceptic might argue that making green claims in relation to single use plastic products is a little bit like setting your house on fire and stamping part of that fire out.
We'll wait to see whether the ASA thinks these claims are mere puff, or whether they are materially misleading.