A SUGGESTIVE TV advert which drew complaints from shocked viewers has been defended by a Radcliffe e-cigarette company as “slightly cheeky”.

VIP Electronic Cigarettes, a company based on the Dale Street industrial estate, launched the raunchy commercials featuring a glamorous actress in November.

Following its airing just after the 9pm watershed on Saturday during I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! 147 people complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The innuendo-laced 20-second advert features a woman in a tight black dress who appears to be making provocative sexual references, but is in fact talking about an e-cigarette.

The ASA confirmed it had launched an investigation following the complaints which could lead to the commercial being pulled from television screens.

A spokesman said: “The complaints were generally on the grounds of taste and decency.

“People objected to the advert being overtly sexual and offensive and complained it sexualised and glamourised the use of e-cigarettes and/or of smoking.”

The commercial was launched on November 4 in the Granada region along with a second  advert featuring a suited man making a series of euphemism-filled statements.

Miguel Corral, co-owner of VIP Electronic Cigarettes, said the company was forbidden from including the product itself so took a different “slightly cheeky” approach.

He said: “I think it’s safe to say that our ads could be considered controversial and definitely push boundaries.

“Due to advertising regulations we were not permitted to include the product in the ad, so we decided to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to appeal to an adult audience and communicate the superior taste of VIP products while making it clear that the product does contain nicotine and that they are only available to smokers over the age of 18.

“We anticipated that the creative treatment for this campaign would cause comment and we were ready for this.

"I want to make it very clear that as a leading e-cigarette manufacturer, we take our responsibilities extremely seriously which is evident in our decision not to broadcast the ads before the watershed and follow the advertising rules closely.”