Table 1

Social media platform policies restricting the promotion and sale of tobacco products as of May 2021

Restriction typeTobacco restriction policiesSocial media platforms
Paid adsProhibits paid ads for tobacco productsXXXXXXX‡XX
Prohibits paid ads for tobacco use venues§
(eg, hookah lounges)
Prohibits paid ads for tobacco events§XX
Promotion¶Restricts platform from recommending user generated tobacco contentXX
Prohibits sponsored content (ie, influencer)XXX
SalesProhibits tobacco sales**X††X††XX
Underage AccessAge-gating that restricts youth access to tobacco sales and promotionsX‡‡
  • *Discord is currently not supported by paid advertisements and does not allow paid advertisements of any kind.

  • †In addition to the policies in the table, YouTube also limits the monetisation of videos that promote tobacco products through labelling these videos as ‘limited or no ads’. Video creators are able to earn money by sharing the revenues of the ads by placing the ads on their video as part of the YouTube Partner Program. In this programme, advertisers can choose which videos to post their ads, and the videos will have less chance of being chosen if they are labelled as ‘limited or no ads’.

  • ‡Tumblr permits paid e-cigarette advertising when legal in the target market.

  • §Some prohibitions on tobacco product advertising also include promoting tobacco product use, which may be interpreted to include events and venues that promote tobacco use.

  • ¶Facebook and Instagram permit content that attempts to buy, sell, trade or gift tobacco products when posted by a brick-and-mortar store or legitimate website or brand when age-gated to 18 years old or older.

  • **Some platforms have generic policies against the sale of regulated products but that do not explicitly mention tobacco. These provisions are not included here due to their ambiguity.

  • ††Pinterest and Reddit restrict user-to-user sales of tobacco products, but do not explicitly address sales from licensed retailers.

  • ‡‡YouTube’s language is broader than Facebook and Instagram and indicates that content that promotes a product that contains nicotine may be age-gated or removed.