Dirty Practices

posted by Zane Bickerstaff - 


Tobacco Companies Using Social Media Influencers To Lure Kids

: Study suggests tobacco companies using social media to glamorize smoking

  • A new study finds that cigarette companies are paying social media influencers to promote cigarettes and smoking to young people in more than 40 countries
  • They find and pay young people with a large social media following to post photos featuring certain cigarette brands
  • They are also trained on when to post pictures for maximum exposure, as well as how to take “natural photos” so they don’t come across as advertisements 

Social media influencers can get their followers to do and buy a lot of things, and it turns out tobacco companies are counting on that. A new study released by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids finds that cigarette companies are paying social media influencers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, to promote cigarettes and smoking to young people in more than 40 countries. 

The study finds that companies go out of their way to find and pay young people with a large social media following to post photos featuring certain cigarette brands. Such influencers are trained on when to post pictures for maximum exposure, as well as how to take “natural photos” so they don’t come across as advertisements. Not only that, tobacco companies also have influencers use hashtags to promote cigarettes in posts, with most of them in English suggesting they are marketed specifically towards American youth.

And it appear the companies’ tactics are working, with tobacco’s social media campaigns being viewed more than 25 billion times, with 8.8 billion of those views in the U.S. alone. Because of this, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and other organizations has just filed a petition with the FTC to require tobacco companies to disclose when a social media campaign is actually paid advertising, using hashtags like #Sponsored, #Promotion or #Ad in the content

Source: Tobacco Free Kids

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