ASA Ruling on Vapes-Bars Ltd.

Five TikTok posts promoting Vapes Bars Ltd., an e-cigarette company, were challenged by the government agency that regulates e-cigarettes. Three posts featured influencers offering e-cigarettes from Vapes Bars as a prize to passers-by who correctly completed truth or dare challenges or answered knowledge questions. The other two posts featured influencers smoking and displaying e-cigarettes.

UK regulations clearly prohibit online advertising of e-cigarettes but allow a manufacturer to provide factual product information such as the name, content and price of the product on its own websites. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concluded that marketing communications with the direct or indirect effect of promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components which were not licensed as medicines should not be made from a public TikTok account. The ASA explained that TikTok posts can be distributed beyond the followers of a particular account and therefore was not equivalent to actively seeking out information about e-cigarettes. Thus, public social media accounts, like TikTok, are not analogous to a website, and therefore, neither factual nor promotional content for e-cigarettes is permitted. Further, the gifting of free e-cigarettes constituted a payment to the individuals featured in the posts; the discount link; reference to ‘#ad’; the hashtags about various vapes brands; and the indication of a coordinated marketing approach established that these posts were marketing communications. The ASA ordered that the ad not appear again in the form complained about.


ASA Ruling on Vapes-Bars Ltd., Social media (influencer or affiliate ad), Complaint Ref: A23-1199003 (2023).

  • United Kingdom
  • Sep 13, 2023
  • Advertising Standards Authority


Plaintiff Unidentified complainant

Defendant Vapes-Bars Ltd.

Legislation Cited

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016

CAP Code

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product