Disposable vape ban: Four TikTok vape ads have been removed from social media site for violating guidelines

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TikTok also said the content breached their own guidelines

Four vape advertisements that appeared on TikTok have been banned as part of the regulator’s efforts to make it “crystal clear” they must stop using social media platforms to advertise their products immediately.

Videos promoting The Disposable Vape Store, Innofly HK, Vapes Bars and Zovoo all previously appeared on the platform despite rules prohibiting adverts for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, that are not licensed as medicines, in various media, including online and on social media.

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A TikTok post from the account @tdvsbackup for The Disposable Vape Store, seen on 23 May, featured a man standing in front of shelves of electronic cigarettes saying: “I just wanted to tell you about these. These are new SKE Amare Crystal. Looking really good. I thought I’d get on and tell you now. They have been on the side for a few hours and some of the flavours are selling out … so I thought I’d let you guys know.”

The Disposable Vape Store said it had seen other vape shops advertising on TikTok and thought it was acceptable. It told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) it will not advertise e-cigarettes on TikTok again.

A TikTok post from the account of influence Vanillaspit, posted on the account @vanillaspit on 24 March, featured her rapping about Innofly HK’s Waka vapes, saying: “Got an email from a brand the other day. ‘Really wanna work with you, what do you say?’ ‘What are you paying and what have you got? If your product is decent, I’ll give it a shot'." She went on: “I’m like, ‘I don’t vape but I’ll give it a shot. I’ll disappear in big clouds, acting all hot.”

Innofly HK said it was taking “all necessary steps” to ensure its marketing practices adhere to ASA guidelines, including not using TikTok as a marketing tool. Vanillaspit told the ASA she was contacted by a company which offered to send her vapes and said she could make a post if she wanted to.

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Four vape advertisements that appeared on TikTok have been banned for breaching advertising guidelines. Photos by Adobe Photos. Composite image by NationalWorld/Kim Mogg.Four vape advertisements that appeared on TikTok have been banned for breaching advertising guidelines. Photos by Adobe Photos. Composite image by NationalWorld/Kim Mogg.
Four vape advertisements that appeared on TikTok have been banned for breaching advertising guidelines. Photos by Adobe Photos. Composite image by NationalWorld/Kim Mogg. | Photos by Adobe Photos. Composite image by NationalWorld/Kim Mogg.

TikToks for Vapes Bars showed various influencers giving away the devices to passers-by who answered questions correctly. Vapes Bars said it had contacted the influencers involved and asked them to take down the videos, telling the ASA it will “actively monitor the situation in future to ensure that the content was removed from social media platforms,” as reported by PA News Agency.

A TikTok post from Izzi Alice Mitchell’s account, @izzialicexo, seen on 18 May, featured an electronic cigarette and the text: “Zozoo (sic) drag bar 700 puffs. Grape flavour. Long last flavour. Smooth puff. 10/10.” Zovoo did not respond to the ASA’s inquiries.

A ‘high priority issue’ for the regulator

TikTok said the videos violated its community guidelines, which ban the facilitation of trade of tobacco products, including vapes or e-cigarettes.

The ASA said its rulings are part of its response to concerns about vaping ads appearing on social media, saying: “We’ve made it clear that one vaping ad on these channels is one too many and have made it a priority to stamp it out.” To date, it has reported around 300 posts, approximately 80% of which predated an enforcement notice at the end of June to TikTok for removal.

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The notice read: “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.

“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.

“This Enforcement Notice makes crystal clear to advertisers and brands the rules that are in place and that if they are using TikTok as a platform to advertise vaping they must stop immediately. This is a high priority issue for us, and we are considering what further action to take in the near future.”

A TikTok spokesman said: “Our community guidelines make clear that TikTok strictly prohibits content promoting the trade of vaping products, e-cigarettes or tobacco products. We continue to work with the ASA to ensure advertisers and creators comply with the CAP Code as well as our rules.”

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