Advertising watchdog bans Instagram e-cigarette posts

David Prior's picture

Four vaping companies have had Instagram posts promoting e-cigarettes banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The watchdog prohibits the advertising of unlicensed, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, but companies are allowed to put factual information about their products on their own websites.

British American Tobacco (BAT), Ama Cape Lab, Attitude Vapes and Mylo Vapes had all argued that their Instagram posts had simply provided permitted such factual information, like the name, content and price of their products.

The ASA disagreed, ruling that the posts “clearly went beyond the provision of factual information” and were "promotional in nature".

The posts showed models and celebrities such as Lily Allen holding e-cigarettes.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the groups to have complained, described the ruling as "a huge step forward".

It said in a statement: "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."

Other posts promoting Vype congratulated actor Rami Malek on a Bafta award and featured model Olivia Jade Attwood smoking an e-cigarette.