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British ASA bans Elfbar and HQD promoting vape pens on TikTok. Vape pens includes disposable vape pens, rechargeable vape pens and refillable vape pens, etc.
ELF BAR responds they will improve the internal review and monitoring mechanism. And ensure that all online content meets regulatory requirements.
The first post comes from the account @panaxhe_. The post shows that a young man chosing a blueberry flavor ELF BAR disposable vape pen in a refrigerator with colorful items as breakfast. Then choosing a kiwi passion fruit flavor rechargeable vape pen as lunch.
The second post shows the former “GOGGLEBOX” star George Baggs. He posted the advertisement at the age of 19. Holding a HQD Wave disposable vape pen in his hands, and the text on-screen wrote: “Matching my outfit with my new HQD v@pe” With the video continues, Mr. Baggs smoking and dressing, and the text shows: “Always get asked to do these sorta vids so here ya go 🙂 #HQDVIP #uk #trending.”
The British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) starts to investigate these two posts. Mainly, they investigates whether these posts violated the advertising regulations by promoting unlicensed, nicotine-containing disposable vape pens on TikTok. Also, ASA is featuring Mr. Baggs, who were under 25 years old.
However, on TikTok, the promotion of vape pen products such as ELF BAR and HQD seems to blatantly violate these regulations. We can often see many disposable, refillable and rechargeable disposable vape pens advertising on TikTok. But, Tiktok’s age rating is only 13 years old, and is widely used by younger children.
Green Fun Alliance, trading as Elf Bar, responds that they had contacted the content creators and Tiktok and asked to delete this post. ELF BAR said they will improve the internal review and monitoring mechanism. And make sure all online content meets regulatory requirements.
Due to this complaint, they have stopped Tiktok content and communication marketing in British market.
HQD Tech responds that they don’t think that Mr. Baggs is encouraging the audience to try the product. Moreover, they have deleted all the contents relate to Mr. Baggs until the ASA investigation ends. Also, they have taken additional measures to ensure that their marketing activities will not target young audiences.
OFF Limits Entertainment, representing Mr. Baggs, responds that they have contacted HQD Tech. They also ensure that Mr. Baggs will not promote any vape pen products on social media in the future.
Tiktok said that Elf Bar’s posts has violate their brand content policy and community guidelines, and have been deleted from the platform. HQD Tech’s posts has violate their service terms, prohibit advertising tobacco products, including vape pen products.
TikTok confirms that these two posts may appear in the “Recommended” dynamics recommended by the algorithm. So they may be seen by users who are not following George Baggs or @panaxhe_ account.
Regarding the HQD Tech advertisement, ASA ruling: “Although we think the advertisement is not allowed on Tiktok, those who appear in video or play an important role seems under 25. George Baggs, a public figure, famous for his TV show “Gogglebox”. The video shows that he is smoking a disposable vape pen. We know that he is 19 years old when he releases the advertisement. Therefore, we believe that the advertisement violates the regulations. “
ASA also rules that ELF BAR’s advertisement must not appear again, and added: “We told Green Fun Alliance that you cannot publish market promotion information with nicotine vape pens and components from open Tiktok account, unless these products obtain a drug license. “