FDA Requires E-Cigarette Brands to Provide Information on Social Media Practices

July 08, 2021 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy

Companies marketing the tobacco brands Aspire, Joyetech, Vaporesso, and Voopoo, which were selected through a systematic process, must share information about social media marketing campaigns that target youth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced (https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-requires-four-e-cigarette-brands-provide-critical-information-social-media-practices). The requirements include social media advertising documents and marketing plans, such as planned content to target specific audiences, cost of plans, use of partners and influences, and the number of followers and views broken down by age group.

“E-cigarettes should never be marketed to, sold to or used by kids, and it’s critical that we continue to take aggressive steps to address the youth use of these products. This includes taking a hard look at the social media marketing practices of some popular e-cigarette companies,” FDA Center for Tobacco Products’ Director Mitch Zeller said (https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-requires-four-e-cigarette-brands-provide-critical-information-social-media-practices).

In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/rules-regulations-and-guidance/family-smoking-prevention-and-tobacco-control-act-overview) was signed into law. Since then, FDA has seized on the congressional mandate to curtail tobacco use in the United States, increasing its jurisdiction over the products’ marketing, distribution, and sales. As new tobacco products are developed, many directed at minors, FDA has expanded its regulation under the law for items such as vaping mechanisms, electronic cigarettes, and flavored tobacco.

FDA’s latest information requirements enable the agency to better understand the relationship between rising youth exposure to online e-cigarette marketing and youth use, according to a news briefing (https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-requires-four-e-cigarette-brands-provide-critical-information-social-media-practices). Regulatory options of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products will be based on what the agency learns from the companies providing the required information.

FDA is taking a strong stand as the rate in youth consumption of tobacco has reversed itself with vaping and electronic products in recent years. ONS is a partner with the Center for Tobacco Products (https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/about-center-tobacco-products-ctp) advocating to ensure that big tobacco remains out of reach of children. Raise your voice with us and educate the public (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/e-cigarettes-and-vaping) on the risks and adverse events of e-cigarettes, vaping, and other tobacco products.

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