Social media influencers who promote vaping products on Facebook and Instagram will be banned from the platforms, the companies said. Vaping products are already banned from advertising on the social media platforms.
Many vaping manufacturers have adopted the “influencer marketing” practice of paying celebrities and social media stars with large followings to post images of themselves using the products.
“With the right policy, Facebook and Instagram are uniquely positioned to cut off Big Tobacco’s easiest access point to kids and young people around the world,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “Updates to Facebook and Instagram policies on influencer marketing are desperately needed.”
The global enforcement comes one month after the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that British American Tobacco – the second largest cigarette maker in the world, which also markets vaping products – must stop advertising its products on Instagram. Instagram’s policy will also prohibit branded content that promotes weapons as well.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to four companies that manufacture, advertise and sell flavored e-liquids for using social media influencers to promote their products without the required statement: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
Earlier this month, the FDA announced a ban of all flavored vaping products with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavors.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.