Annual awards to expose ‘dirty tricks’ of tobacco industry call out MetaACTA
A Subiaco-based national organisation fighting to reduce smoking and vaping and the Australian Medical Association have presented Meta with an ‘Exploding Vape’ award.
AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking & Health held its annual Dirty Ashtray Awards ceremony on Tuesday, which was attended by Federal Health Minister Mark Butler. It aims to put a spotlight on the “dirty tricks” of the tobacco industry.
Meta was presented with the inaugural Exploding Vape Award, with the groups claiming it failed to enforce its policies that ban promotion of tobacco and nicotine products across its social media platforms.
The Dirty Ashtray Award went to British American Tobacco, the company behind pro-vaping website Responsible Vaping Australia, which ran a petition calling for the government to allow retailers to sell nicotine vaping products.
ACOSH co-chief executive Laura Hunter said the new Exploding Vape Award aimed to expose Meta for allowing the tobacco industry to advertise on its platforms, despite having a policy about not allowing e-cigarette advertising on its platforms.
“They’ve painted themselves as a good corporate citizen by having this policy on their website,” she said.
“What we actually see in reality is that none of this is enforced and social media is a big way that our teenagers are accessing these products, with some of these promotions across these platforms including things like Kermit the Frog and Sonic the Hedgehog.
“These ads are relentless in their targeting of kids and young people, and why we’re giving the award to Meta is to expose their non-compliance and enforcement with their own policy.
“We hope that future laws and reforms in this space address the promotion of vapes on social media platforms.”
AMA president professor Steve Robson said the awards illustrated the need to address unregulated advertising of nicotine products on social media and stop tobacco industry players from funding political and lobby groups.
“Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia, while the evidence of health threats from e-cigarettes continues to grow, hooking younger generations onto an addictive product,” he said.