The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned four vaping companies – including BAT - from promoting e-cigarettes on Instagram.
The ruling follows complaints that the promotions breached the advertising code by “promoting unlicensed, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components on Instagram”; by featuring someone with an e-cigarette who appeared to be under 25 years old; and, in BAT’s case, by being likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 years old.
In addition to BAT, the other three companies under scrutiny were Ama Vape, Attitude Vapes and Global Vaping Group.
A number of BAT’s Instagram posts featured celebrity singer Lily Allen holding an e-cigarette, while another post featured model Olivia Jade Attwood.
The ASA told the companies that “marketing communications with the direct or indirect effect of promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components which were not licensed as medicines should not be made from a public Instagram account in future, unless they had taken steps to ensure they would only be distributed to those following their account and would not be seen by other users”.
BAT said it had ensured the information it provided online was factual in nature; the Vype Instagram account in question had a restricted profile meaning that the user must have declared themselves 18 years or older to follow the Vype account; the Vype Instagram page contained a message that stated ‘Vype e-cigarettes contain nicotine. 18+ only. Read leaflet in pack’; and all of Vype’s Instagram posts also contained text which stated ‘Vype e-cigarettes contain nicotine. 18+ only. Read leaflet in pack’.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) had challenged BAT’s Instagram posts.
Anti-addiction group Allen Carr’s Easyway had challenged the other companies’ Instagram promotions.