STUDY:Tobacco ads sweep social media to target young people

Recently, according to the Guardian, a study shows that hundreds of millions of social media users have viewed posts promoting nicotine bags and e-cigarettes,even the heat not burn cigarette products. Young people, in particular, have become the focus of advertising campaigns for alternatives to smoking.


The study, by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, highlights how companies use "aggressive" tactics to promote alternatives to smoking like the heat not burn cigarette products through discounts, giveaways and paid influencers.


The agency warns that these ads are increasingly sweeping social media, attracting millions of young people. Forty percent of the audience was under the age of 25, and 16 million were under the age of 18, the report said. Most of the views came from Instagram.


In its first study to investigate the scale of such content, the charity examined three brands: Velo, a nicotine bag sold by British American Tobacco; Vuse, also an e-cigarette sold by BAT; IQOS, a heated tobacco/heat not burn cigarette products , is marketed by Philip Morris Internationa(heatsticks manufacturers)l, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.


A British American Tobacco spokesman said the company was clear that its e-cigarettes and nicotine packs were "intended for adult smokers and nicotine users only". They said it requires anyone entering into a brand partnership with them to be at least 25 years old and "ensures that the vast majority of followers are over the age of 18."


A Philip Morris(heatsticks manufacturers)spokesman said it was "unable to provide a comprehensive response" because it was "unable to analyze the report in its entirety." "Responsible sales and marketing is a top priority for PMI," a spokesman said. They said the company communicated its products "to an adult audience."


Yoronda Richardson, CEO of the Campaign for Smoke-free Kids, said the report "should be a wake-up call about improper marketing."


The charity said it wants social media companies to take legal responsibility to proactively identify and remove any illegal marketing of tobacco and nicotine products on their platforms.


The study further revealed that these posts promoting alternatives to smoking like the heat not burn cigarette products were viewed more than 3.4 billion times on social media platforms. The data highlights the importance of the smoking like the heat not burn cigarette products alternatives market in social media advertising and highlights the need for regulation and restraint.