TULSA, Okla. — A post across a 14-year-old girl’s Instagram feed recently showed a vape pen promoting wellness.
The girl is FOX23 Morning Anchor Michelle Linn’s daughter Hayden who is a competitive athlete and was intrigued by the product’s claims to promote energy and wellness by boosting B12.
Tulsa pulmonologist Dr. Mark Boomer says Hayden wouldn’t likely notice an increase in energy because she’s not Vitamin B12 deficient -- but he is concerned about if she were to put any substance in her lungs.
“I think it introduces the process to kids who are athletes that would otherwise avoid it,” said Dr. Boomer
“The simple bottom line is lungs were designed to inhale air and all of these other things have the potential for damage.”
Michelle reached out to Instagram’s parent company Facebook in Decmeber to ask why the product Verve Vapor came across her daughter’s feed.
Instagram responded with the following statement:
Two days later, the company an additional statement:
"Across the Facebook company, we are updating our policies to include clearer rules for the paid promotion of certain goods and services such as vaping, tobacco, alcohol and diet supplements.
Branded content that promotes goods such as vaping, tobacco products and weapons will not be allowed. Our advertising policies have long prohibited the advertisement of these products, and we will begin enforcement on this in the coming weeks."
After reaching out to Verve Vapor about their product Michelle the following response:
“Our personal inhalers are not intended for persons under 18 years of age. Although our products are safe and do not contain nicotine, we do not wish to encourage the hand-to-mouth habit that may lead to unhealthy habits, such as smoking. We have a company policy not to supply our products to minors.”
Both Facebook and Verve Vapor say the company has never run ads on Instagram and has never paid to promote a post.
A Verve Vapor spokesperson says the product likely showed up in Hayden’s feed because of Instagram’s algorithm
Instagram says the post showed up in her feed because someone she follows on the app engaged with Verve Vapor by liking, commenting, or posting about their product.
The Food and Drug Administration has strict advertising regulations when it comes to tobacco products, but manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements do not need FDA approval.
Verve Vapor’s website says its products do not contain nicotine or tobacco and they are 100 percent free of any drugs or controlled substances -- saying Verve Vapor is a “personal aromatherapy device, not close to your typical E-cigarette, and the devices are very low power, which means they don’t burn or overheat materials like many large devices can.”
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