Groups are asking social media giants to block nicotine and tobacco pouch ads.
WASHINGTON — A coalition of over 100 organizations has asked social media companies to prohibit advertising nicotine and tobacco pouch products on their platforms. These platforms include TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and others.
“For years, tobacco companies have used social media platforms to advertise highly addictive products to young people,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a press statement published on October 26, 2021.
“Social media platforms have a responsibility to protect their users from the predatory marketing tactics of Big Tobacco – it’s time for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to end their complicity in Big Tobacco’s campaign to addict the next generation,” Myers added in the same press statement.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, TikTok CEO Vanessa Papas, and Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg are all named in the joint letter signed by Myers and other public health group execs.
The public health groups that filed the letter come from all segments of society and from various regions worldwide.
For the United States, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence, the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, and consumer watchdog group Corporate Accountability have signed the letter.
“We are calling on you all to prohibit the marketing of non-pharmaceutical oral nicotine products on your platforms – comprehensively updating existing policies to add these addictive and largely unregulated products to paid marketing and influencer marketing prohibitions on tobacco products and e-cigarettes,” states the letter. “Some of the world’s largest cigarette companies including Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco…have recently introduced their own nicotine pouch brands. These products are part of tobacco companies’ plan to both keep and addict new customers to nicotine.”
Scientifically, tobacco-free nicotine pouches are considered less harmful than cigarettes and with more significant relative risk reduction when compared to electronic cigarettes in some cases. The US Food and Drug Administration has also approved PMTA applications and modified-risk marketing requests for various oral nicotine and tobacco products, including snus brands.