ASA Bans Affiliate Programs for Electronic Cigarettes Following Apollo Future Technology Ruling

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has recently issued a ruling banning the use of affiliate marketing programs for electronic cigarettes. This decision comes in the wake of an investigation into Apollo Future Technology Ltd, a prominent electronic cigarette company, and their marketing practices.

On June 26, the ASA released its findings on Apollo Future Technology Ltd, concluding that the company had breached affiliate marketing guidelines in the UK contravening established regulations aimed at protecting public health and ensuring responsible marketing.

The Notice

The investigation centred around whether Apollo Future Technology’s affiliate marketing notices violated the Code by irresponsibly promoting e-cigarettes and their components online, given that unlicensed nicotine-containing e-liquids and their components are prohibited from online promotion. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 1.10 (Legality), and 22.12 (Electronic cigarettes).

Apollo Future Technology,  said their UK affiliate program worked with product review websites, which were for adult vape users. They reviewed products and ranked them. They did not believe they breached UK regulations by allowing those sites to review their products, but would stop working with them if that was the case.

The Ruling

In light of these findings, the ASA ruled that Apollo Future Technology must cease its affiliate marketing program immediately. The ruling sets a precedent for the electronic cigarette industry, signaling that all promotional activities, including those conducted by third parties, are subject to stringent regulatory scrutiny.

The ASA’s ruling requires Apollo Future Technology to:

  • Withdraw: All current affiliate marketing content that breaches advertising regulations must be withdrawn immediately.
  • Ensure Compliance: Implement strict measures to ensure any future marketing efforts, whether direct or through affiliates, comply with CAP Code rules.
  • Monitor Affiliates: Establish robust monitoring mechanisms to oversee affiliate activities, ensuring adherence to advertising standards.

Industry Impact

This ruling has sent ripples through the electronic cigarette industry, prompting companies to reevaluate their marketing strategies. The ban on affiliate programs could significantly impact how electronic cigarette products are promoted online, where much of the marketing takes place.

Critics of affiliate marketing argue that it often leads to unregulated and misleading promotions, potentially jeopardizing public health, especially among vulnerable groups like minors. Proponents, however, claim that affiliate marketing is a crucial tool for reaching adult consumers in a competitive market.


The ASA’s decisive action against Apollo Future Technology underscores the regulatory body’s commitment to safeguarding public health through strict advertising controls. As the electronic cigarette market continues to grow, this ruling serves as a critical reminder that all marketing practices must prioritize consumer protection and adhere to established standards.

Companies within the industry are now on notice: the use of affiliate programs to promote electronic cigarettes will be closely monitored, and any breaches of advertising codes will be met with swift and stringent action.

For Apollo Future Technology and other electronic cigarette companies, the message is clear—compliance with advertising standards is not optional, and failing to adhere will result in significant regulatory consequences

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