UK bans e-cigarette ads on Instagram, other social media

UK bans e-cigarette ads on Instagram, other social media
Tobacco companies have been investing millions of dollars in their e-cigarette businesses as sales of traditional cigarettes decline in developed economies. (AFP)
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Updated 18 December 2019

UK bans e-cigarette ads on Instagram, other social media

UK bans e-cigarette ads on Instagram, other social media
  • Big tobacco has been investing millions of dollars in e-cigarette businesses as sales of traditional cigarettes decline
  • But a spate of vaping-related deaths and illnesses and addiction have raised concerns over the safety of these devices

Companies including British American Tobacco (BAT) will be barred from promoting e-cigarettes on Instagram and other social media sites as a result of a ruling by the UK’s advertising watchdog on Wednesday.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated Instagram posts from BAT e-cigarette brand Vype, as well as rivals Ama Vape, Attitude Vapes and Global Vaping Group.
Complaints from health groups had argued the posts were likely to appeal to people below 18 years of age.
The ASA ruled that BAT’s posts breached online advertising rules including the use of celebrities such as British singer Lily Allen.
Its ruling means BAT and the three other firms must immediately stop using Instagram to promote e-cigarettes in the UK, stop using influencers and remove any posts that breach UK advertising rules.
In complaints filed by lobby groups Action on Smoking and Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products, the companies were also accused of using models who appeared to be under 25, which is prohibited in the UK.
Tobacco companies have been investing millions of dollars in their e-cigarette businesses as sales of traditional cigarettes decline in developed economies.
But a spate of vaping-related deaths and illnesses and high teen addiction to e-cigarettes have raised concerns over the safety of these devices.
In the United States, 52 deaths and nearly 2,500 lung illnesses have been associated with vaping.
Simon Cleverly, BAT’s group head of corporate affairs, said the company would abide by ASA’s decision, remove the relevant posts and amend its Instagram account.
The companies are allowed to provide factual product information such as the name, content and price of their e-cigarettes on their own websites.
“This is a major step forward in stopping the tobacco industry from promoting its new addictive products to children and teenagers,” said Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath.
“But given that cigarette sales are falling and tobacco companies are desperate to recruit young people into using these new products, ongoing vigilance is essential,” she said.
BAT, the maker of Dunhill cigarettes, reported vaping products revenue of £189 million for the first half of this year, up from £118 million a year earlier.
“While this is a mild negative for BAT’s UK revenue stream from vape products in the UK, it’s immaterial to the bottom line,” Liberum analyst Nico von Stackelberg said in a note.


Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital
Updated 16 January 2021

Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital
  • Two policemen were killed and one wounded
  • The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks

KABUL: A roadside bomb targeting a police vehicle in the Afghan capital killed two policemen Saturday, officials said, as violence continues unabated in Afghanistan despite peace talks between the Taliban and government.
The vehicle carrying the policemen was struck by the bomb in the center of the capital on the road to the prestigious Kabul University, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said.
Two policemen were killed and one wounded, Faramarz said.
Violence has surged across the country in recent months, especially in Kabul which is also rocked by a new trend of targeted killings that has sown fear in the city.
The bloodshed comes even as the Taliban and government negotiators engage in peace talks to end the nearly two decade war in the country.
The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks.