Four makers of flavored e-cigarettes have received warnings over their social media marketing initiatives, including the use of influencers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
In letters made public on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission allege that the companies' social media ads don't warn consumers that the advertised products contain nicotine.
The agencies note in their letters that the FTC requires in-ad disclosure of material health or safety risks, and requires social media influencers to disclose when they're paid for posts.
“These letters are a reminder that companies who use social media influencers to promote their products must comply with all applicable advertising requirements,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
The letters were sent to Solace Vapor, Hype City Vapors, Humble Juice Co. and Artist Liquid Labs.
The FTC and FDA noted specific instances of allegedly problematic social media ads.
For instance, the letter to Solace Vapor referenced posts that appeared on social media accounts of “Pandora Blue” -- a vaper with 1.7 million Instagram followers. She promoted Solace products in at least six posts between October of 2018 and this April, but none of those posts said the products contained nicotine, according to the letter.
One of the posts flagged by the agencies features Pandora Blue holding a bottle of Solace's “sea salt blueberry.” The accompanying text reads: “Start your day off right with @solacevapor sea salt blueberry salt water taffy and tart blueberry flavors, refreshing your mind and thoughts.”
There doesn't appear to be a disclaimer stating that the post is a paid ad.
The FDA and FTC are requesting response from the companies within 15 days.