Influencer George Baggs Banned from Promoting E-cigarettes on TikTok for Breaking Advertising Rules

Influencer George Baggs Banned from Promoting E-cigarettes on TikTok for Breaking Advertising Rules

...By Babatunde Lucas for TDPel Media.

Influencer George Baggs, who has 1.3 million followers on TikTok, has had an advert for fruit-flavoured e-cigarettes removed from his page for breaching advertising rules.

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Investigators found that he was promoting the e-cigarettes while under the legal age to do so.

Although the legal age to smoke e-cigarettes is 18, the legal age to promote vaping is 25.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that George breached its guidelines by promoting the vapes and he has been banned from posting any clips holding one.

George had been promoting HQD Tech on his page in June 2022.

The ASA said that this was problematic as those who did not follow his account could still be exposed to the advertising, due to the way TikTok works.

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In the advert, George was shown holding the vape with the caption: “Matching my outfit with my new HQD v@pe.”

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He then did a ‘get ready with me’ video showing him getting dressed and wrote: “Always get asked to do these sorta vids so here ya go 🙂 #HQDVIP #uk #trending.”

George’s brief for the content stated that it was to be shot by him and showcase his “vaping experience” in a “light and fun” way, and was to be posted on TikTok between May 27 and July 30, 2022.

Contract agreements were looked at during the investigation.

Analysis and Commentary

The case of George Baggs highlights the need for influencers to follow advertising rules carefully, particularly when it comes to promoting products that may be harmful.

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E-cigarettes have been linked to several health concerns, including lung damage and nicotine addiction.

The fact that George was promoting the vapes while under the legal age to do so highlights the need for better regulation of social media advertising.

The ASA has ruled that advertising communications promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components should not be made from a public TikTok account, and HQD Tech have promised to enforce extra checks on all content from third parties.

This case also highlights the importance of social media influencers’ impact on younger audiences.

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George’s large following on TikTok means that his actions and the products he promotes could be seen by a significant number of younger viewers.

The ASA’s ruling that the content should not be exposed to people under 25 is a step towards protecting young people from potentially harmful products.

Finally, this case raises concerns about the commercialization of social media platforms.

TikTok’s algorithm means that even those who do not follow an influencer’s account can still be exposed to their content.

As a result, it is essential that social media platforms take more responsibility for regulating advertising on their platforms and ensuring that users are protected from harmful products.

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