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FTC, FDA: Vaping 'Influencer' Posts Must Include Health Warnings

The Federal Trade Commission has warned advertisers of e-liquid (vaping) products that any paid social media influencer plugs for their products must contain the requisite health warnings.

That came in letters from both the FTC and FDA to four companies, Solace Vapor, Hype City Vapors, Humble Juice and Artist Liquids Labs said that influencer posts without the required nicotine warning runs afoul of the Sec. 5 prohibition on false and deceptive advertising.

Related: FTC Warns of Deceptive E-Liquid Marketing, Labeling

They cited posts on Instagram, Facebook and elsewhere and asked the companies to respond ASAP on how they were going to come into compliance with Sec. 5 and a recommendation that all the companies "review your company’s social media marketing to ensure that posts contain necessary disclosures and they are clear and conspicuous."

There was not warning to the edge provider sites hosting the posts because social media sites are not liable for third party posts, even false or deceptive ones, even if the social media sites had knowledge that they were false and deceptive.

Related:FDA Rule on Vaping Claims Raises Speech Issues, Says WLF

Just last week, a federal appeals court declined to hold edge providers liable for false third-party content posted on their sites, citing that Communications Decency Act Sec. 230 liability exemption for social media. 

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.