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Instagram to ban vape ads as regulator cracks down on e-cigarette marketing


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

December 18, 2019 | 3 min read

Instagram has announced a clampdown on the marketing of e-cigarette brands, including a blanket ban on vape ads, following a series of bans issued by the UK's advertising watchdog.

vape image

Instagram has banned the promotion of vapes and e-cigarettes.

Amid growing scrutiny of the use of influencers to promote such products, Instagram today (18 December) announced ban on paid promotions of vaping or tobacco products.

In a blog post, Instagram stated: "Branded content that promotes goods such as vaping, tobacco products and weapons will not be allowed. Our advertising policies have long prohibited the advertisement of these products, and we will begin enforcement on this in the coming weeks."

A Facebook spokesperson told The Drum: “We do not allow adverts that promote the sale or use of tobacco or electronic cigarettes. Earlier this year we updated our policy to restrict organic content that depicts the sale or purchase of tobacco products to over 18s. We are currently updating our branded content policies to no longer allow paid promotions of these products too.”

This morning (18 December), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) came down hard on four e-cigarette brands for promoting their products to the public on the popular platform. Tobacco brands British American Tobacco, Mylo Vape, Amavape and Attitude Vapes each received a rebuke from the watchdog.

Instagram stated that the ban on vape advertising had been in the works for several months and said today's announcement was not related to the ASA's activity.

Instagram also said that its rules over the promotion of diet supplements and alcohol products would be tightened. The platform promised that new policies would come into effect in the New Year, once necessary tools and infrastructure had been implemented. It said: "We are currently building specific tools to help creators comply with these new policies, including the ability to restrict who can see their content, based on age."

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