Tobacco promotion restriction policies on social media

Tob Control. 2022 Nov 3;tobaccocontrol-2022-057348. doi: 10.1136/tc-2022-057348. Online ahead of print.


Tobacco promotion is prolific on social media, with each platform setting their own restrictions on tobacco promotion and sales. We evaluated the policies related to tobacco product promotion and sales on 11 sites that are popular with youth in May 2021: Discord, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Tumblr, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube. Nine of the 11 sites prohibited paid advertising for tobacco products. However, only three of them clearly prohibited sponsored content (ie, social influencers) that promotes tobacco. Six platforms restricted content that sells tobacco products and three tried to prohibit underage access to content that promotes or sells tobacco products. Although most platform policies prohibited paid tobacco advertising, few addressed more novel strategies, such as sponsored/influencer content and few had age-gating to prevent youth access. There is a pressing need to regulate tobacco promotion on social media platforms.

Keywords: Media; Public policy; Social marketing.

Publication types

  • Editorial