Even if you aren’t a professional influencer on Instagram like Kylie Jenner or Christiano Ronaldo, chances are you have had some sort of influence over someone in your life. Teenagers are still developing mentally, physically, and emotionally, and big changes like those typically lead them to make some questionable decisions. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook breed children to be influenced by someone somewhere. Kids are easily swayed when it comes to drinking and smoking. That’s why Instagram and Facebook are going to restrict sales and limit content related to it.
A spokeswoman said that the policy will entail the prohibition of all private sales, trades, transfers, and gifting of alcohol and tobacco products on Facebook and Instagram. If there are any brands that do post content related to it, they will have to restrict it to adults who are 18 or older.
What We Can Expect
We can expect to see this policy go into effect starting Wednesday, July 31. This will also apply to any Facebook groups catered to those who sell alcohol or tobacco products. They aren’t afraid to remove any groups who don’t comply and make the changes necessary. Facebook Marketplace already doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol and tobacco, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t extending the ban to organic content, or just regular posts from private users. They plan to use human review, technology, and reports from the community to remove any posts that go against the new policy.
An Epidemic of Unprecedented Proportions
Juul, the largest vape manufacturer in the United States, paid popular Instagram users to promote it. Bad move on their part, because people are calling this an “epidemic” of teen vaping. In 2018, the FDA announced that vaping increased nearly 80 percent among high schoolers from the previous year. It’s obvious that the posts are working if that many kids are partaking in vaping.
Though kids will continue to drink, smoke, and vape, hopefully this ban will have some sort of impact on them. According to the CDC, nearly 1 of every 20 middle school students (4.9%) reported in 2018 that they used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days—an increase from 0.6% in 2011, while nearly 1 of every 5 high school students (20.8%) reported in 2018 that they used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days—an increase from 1.5% in 2011. Those numbers start to add up, and it really does begin to feel like an epidemic.
Influencers influence for a reason; maybe with the addition of this ban, they will begin to influence kids in a different way.