Philip Morris International is Using Young Social Media Influencers to Market Tobacco Products

Reuters exposes how Philip Morris International has aggressively marketed their IQOS heated tobacco product on Instagram and other social media platforms, reaching millions of young people across the globe.

Governments must enact and enforce policies mandated by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to protect kids from the aggressive marketing tactics of tobacco companies. Share now to support a government investigation of Philip Morris International for youth-focused marketing of tobacco products on social media!

Philip Morris International is Using Young Social Media Influencers to Market Tobacco Products

A new investigative report from Reuters exposes how Philip Morris International has aggressively marketed their IQOS heated tobacco product on Instagram and other social media platforms, reaching millions of young people across the globe.

While Philip Morris tried to spin the issue as an isolated mistake of paying a 21-year-old social media influencer in Russia, Reuters documented multiple examples of how they have marketed IQOS on Instagram, often using young, attractive influencers: “While most of the social media influencers hired by Philip Morris overseas did not list their ages on Instagram, a Reuters review of the firm’s social media marketing of IQOS in Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and Romania shows that Tapilina’s online persona was typical of what the company called its social media ‘ambassadors’ for the device – rail-thin young women who revel in the high life.

From March 2018 to March 2019, social media posts using the hashtag #iqos have been viewed 179 million times on Instagram and Twitter (according to Keyhole, a social media analytics tool).

In an act of preemptive damage control, Philip Morris announced before publication of the Reuters story that the company was suspending “product-related digital influencer actions.” But given the company’s track record and the fact that they only admitted to using young social media influencers to market iQOS when they were confronted with evidence from a reporter, governments should immediately investigate and hold Philip Morris International accountable for any violation of tobacco advertising laws.

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