The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), who writes the advertising rules enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has issued an Enforcement Notice instructing vaping companies to follow the advertising rules and remove any ads for vapes that are appearing on social media.
“We’re aware that some brands are placing – or incentivising third parties to place – content on TikTok relating to vaping products and their components. We’ve put brands on notice that, if we monitor ongoing problems, we’ll be taking targeted enforcement action,” the ASA said in a statement.
There are significant restrictions surrounding the advertising of vapes and e-cigarettes, and ads for nicotine-containing vapes not licensed as medicines are not allowed on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and, crucially, most online media including social media. Ads must be responsible, and that includes not being targeted at or likely to appeal particularly to under-18s.
“We know people are concerned about young people vaping and, by extension, ads for vaping products appearing on social media where they shouldn’t and being likely to appeal to or be targeted at under-18s. That’s why we’re taking action, banning ads that break the rules and ensuring they’re quickly removed,” the ASA added in the statement.
The Enforcement Notice asks advertisers/brands to stop immediately any vape advertising on TikTok, with the ASA adding that this is a high priority issue for them, and the regulator is considering what further action to take in the near future.
“Our role is to ensure that vaping ads only appear where they can legally be advertised (to a legitimate adult audience) and are responsible. Currently, they are sometimes being placed in social media and targeted at young people. We’re determined to stamp this out. One vaping ad on these channels is one too many,” the ASA said.