Facebook, Instagram Cut Alcohol and Tobacco Product Sales and Content

WEDNESDAY, July 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Sales of alcohol and tobacco products will be restricted, and content about the products will be limited under a new Facebook policy to take effect Wednesday.

All private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol and tobacco products will be banned on Facebook and Instagram, a Facebook spokeswoman told CNN.

Any posts related to the sale or transfer of these products will have to restrict that content to adults 18 or older, she said.

The new policy also applies to any Facebook groups created to sell alcohol or tobacco products, according to the spokeswoman.

Any groups that do not make necessary changes may be removed from Facebook, she told CNN.

Facebook will "use a combination of technology, human review and reports from our community to find and remove any content that violates these policies," the spokeswoman said.

The company already prohibits the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Facebook Marketplace, but the ban is being extended to regular posts from private users, CNN reported.

However, people who are paid to promote nicotine-containing products (so-called "influencers") will still be permitted to post content about tobacco and vape products, and those posts will not have age restrictions, the spokeswoman said.

Juul, the largest vape maker in the U.S., paid popular Instagram influencers to promote its products, CNN reported last year, and the company has been criticized for its alleged role in what experts call an "epidemic" of teen vaping.

In 2018, the vaping rate among high school students was nearly 80% higher than in 2017, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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