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Anti-smoking adverts by Cancer Research see charity in row over barmy Brussels rules that would BAN them

ADVERTS by Cancer Research urging Brits to quit smoking are at the centre of a row over barmy Brussels rules that would ban them, The Sun can reveal.

The leading cancer charity want to launch an advertising blitz next month as part of the annual “Stoptober” to urge smokers to “quit or switch” to using e-cigarettes.

Under EU advertising law, anything that promotes nicotine is outlawed

But charity sources say they were warned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that they will be breaking EU rules by promoting vaping e-cigs — despite research showing it is 95 per cent safer than traditional smoking.

And today it emerged the Department of Health had stepped in to say public health campaigns should be exempt from the Brussels ruling.

The EU’s Committee on Advertising Practice introduced a ruling in February that outlaws “indirect” marketing promotions of nicotine — which includes e-cigs.

But in a 2016 report, the Royal College of Physicians claimed it was in the “interests” of public health “to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.”

Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, George Butterworth, said: “Research so far shows e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking and may help smokers quit.

Research shows that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes

“Smokers who’ve not succeeded in stopping using other methods may want to try swapping to e-cigarettes.

“Stopping smoking is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health.”

The ASA said yesterday: “Our rules prohibits ads for unlicensed, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, in line with European law which took effect in 2016. Ads for products and brands are prohibited and have not been seen or heard on TV or radio since last year.

However they added that the Department for Health believe “the prohibition would not cover public health campaigns about the relative risks of e-cigarettes verses tobacco products by Public Health England or local stop smoking services.

Today it emerged the Department of Health had stepped in to say public health campaigns should be exempt from the Brussels ruling

But they warned: “Clearly, those ads must not promote a specific e-cigarette product or brand.”

A record amount of people succeeded in quitting smoking in the first six months of this year, data from University College London revealed this week.

But the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have refused to endorse vaping.

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