Facebook has begun a crackdown on vape content which could have huge ramifications for the industry.
A spokesperson for the tech giant, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, said:
“The new policy will prohibit all private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol and tobacco products on Facebook and Instagram”
In addition to this:
“Any brands that post content related to the sale or transfer of these products will have to restrict that content to adults 18 or older”
“Organic” vape content, produced by individuals on the platforms, does not need to be age-restricted.
The company is also considering changes to its policy regarding influencer content, pending consultation from industry and regulatory bodies.
What does this mean for vapers on Facebook and Instagram?
A large proportion of luxury vaping goods are marketed and sold entirely through exclusive Facebook groups.
Under the new rules this may have to change, though the communities that surround these companies can continue to operate.
The second-hand market, which has thrived on Facebook until now, may have to move elsewhere.
There are numerous groups with thousands of members, dedicated to selling or trading vaping products and under the new rules this kind of activity is explicitly prohibited.
Finally, competitions and giveaways which are entered via Facebook/Instagram interaction, frequently used as a marketing tool on social media, may have to cease.
While the scope of this new policy may seem narrow for now, some industry insiders are concerned that this is the start of a more hostile approach to vaping from social media firms.
Facebook’s pledge to review their policies on influencer posts leave many questions unanswered.