With hundreds of millions of users all over the world, undeniably, TikTok shows a huge opportunity to marketers. Not only has it surpassed Snapchat and Twitter in popularity, but TikTok is also less flooded with advertisements compared to its outdated counterparts. This application, allowing people to edit and share videos with built-in music, filters, and effects have definitely shaken the advertising world with its extraordinary virality.
Nevertheless, TikTok helps vape companies to get around the rules of the FDA against marketing to people under the age of 21. In fact, over the past few years, some videos have shown on the app marketing vapes discreetly like Puff Bars. Videos don’t just show persons vaping, but explicitly mention how to purchase them too.
Why Did Vape Companies Start Marketing on TikTok?
TikTok is an unregulated and ideal way for a vape company to reach more audiences, especially young individuals. The rules of the FDA against selling and advertising to underage persons have been there since 2016. The considering rule of the agency banned vape businesses from marketing until they have received approval from the FDA through the premarket tobacco approval procedure.
On the other hand, the federal government made further action against teenager vaping in the EVALI calamity when they instituted a ban on flavored items nationwide. But unlike the SMOK Mag Grip, some disposable vape companies such as Puff Bars took advantage of the loopholes in the federal ban. Actually, the new law was designed only for flavor and reusable devices but still permitted disposable vapes or refillable tanks.
Such ambiguities allowed vape companies to be sold despite the government taking action against them. The majority of TikTok’s user base is young people. A review found out that a third of its users are under the age of 14, which is very alarming for some reasons.
Vape Marketing: Why is it Hard to Control?
With a lot of content being uploaded on TikTok every single day, it is extremely difficult to regulate what shows to the eyes of the young generation, like content that advertises vaping equipment to people who are not permitted to buy and use them.
Payment applications such as PayPal and Venmo also make selling the equipment much easier since buyers don’t need to use their credit cards when making a purchase.
Such unregulated acquisitions of vaping items by underage persons are completely illegal. While the app has been doing its best to get rid of other kinds such as election disinformation, content related to vaping looks thriving continuously.
On the other hand, teenagers aren’t shying away from watching these videos since they are getting millions of views and likes on every post.
How Can Vape Advertisements Be Eliminated From TikTok
According to the spokespersons of TikTok, they don’t permit any content related to tobacco on their platform. Also, it has promised to eliminate vaping or tobacco-related content that is reported and it finds. However, TikTok hasn’t been as active in going after content related to vaping as other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. The social media platforms have established new rules in order to prevent vape sellers from providing wrong information and offering products that are not safe.