Vape Companies Slapped by Advertising Authority for Instagram Posts

young woman vaping
Aleksandr Kondratov/Getty

Four vape companies were banned from posting ads on Instagram by an advertising organization, which told the corporations that posts featuring nicotine-containing e-cigarettes “should not be made from Instagram in future” unless the models promoting the e-cigarettes appear to be at least 25 or older.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned four vaping companies from advertising their own products via Instagram posts, according to a report by BBC News.

The companies banned were British American Tobacco (BAT), Ama Vape, Attitude Vapes, and Global Vaping Group.

The ASA ruled the companies’ social media posts must not appear again unless it is certain that no one under the age of 18 could view the posts, and that the people featured in the posts appear to be at least 25 years of age.

“While the ASA ruling is great news, urgent policy change is needed from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to prevent BAT and other tobacco companies from using social media to advertise their harmful products to young people around the world,” said the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, according to BBC.

The report added that anti-smoking groups in the U.K. — Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products (Stop) — complained that the companies were promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes with models who appeared to be under the age of 25, which is banned under the advertising code.

One of the groups that complained said that the ASA Instagram ban was “a huge step forward.”

BAT said that its social media posts had been aimed at communicating “factual information regarding products but stopped short of direct or indirect promotion.”

But one of the groups that complained said that ASA’s ruling “leaves no doubt” that BAT’s activity on social media “were both irresponsible and unlawful and must never be repeated.”

“The law has always been clear that any advertising of e-cigarettes online is not permitted,” said Ash chief executive Deborah Arnott. “BAT’s defense that all they were doing was providing ‘information’ on social media not promoting their products has been blown out of the water.”

According to BBC, an Instagram spokesperson said that the social media site will also be updating its rules so that its users will no longer be able to run paid promotions featuring e-cigarettes or tobacco products on the platform.

“Earlier this year we updated our policy to restrict organic content that depicts the sale or purchase of tobacco products to over 18s,” said Facebook, the owners of Instagram, in statement.

“We are currently updating our branded content policies to no longer allow paid promotions of these products too,” added Facebook.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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