A digital advertisement for an IQOS system appeared on an app used by students of all ages to study and conduct e-learning.
After a student in the Colorado city of Littleton was exposed to a tobacco product digital advertisement on the e-learning website Quizlet, a Republican state lawmaker is vying for a legislative fix to this issue. The ad, reports local media outlets, depicted promotional material for the IQOS heat-not-burn system sold in the United States by Altria Group and Philip Morris International.
The Denver Post reports that the lawmaker, Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton, is now in talks with Attorney General Phil Weiser to assess if there is a need for a legislative fix to address this issue. According to the Post, Larson sponsored legislation that increased the minimum legal sales age from 18 to 21 years in the state. He also supported a bill that banned vaping indoors in 2019.
“Two decades ago, we never would have been in this situation,” Larson said via the Post.
“If a cigarette ad appeared in a magazine oriented to kids, it would be because the cigarette manufacturer went directly to that magazine,” he said. The Post additionally reached out to the software platform, Quizlet, where the advertisement occurred.
“We work closely with ad providers and networks to ensure that the ads we display are appropriate for a student audience,” Quizlet said in their statement. “This means blocking entire categories of ads — including, but not limited to, tobacco-related advertisements.”
Keep in mind: Quizlet is used predominately by high school and college students. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has sent students of all ages to e-learning solutions.
A local Republican activist posted to Twitter a screenshot of the advertisement calling out Altria and Quizlet. PAVE, an extreme anti-vaping group based in New York state replied to the local activist: “Thanks for calling out @Quizlet for IQOS outrage! They also claimed ignorance when we reported them for running flavored e-cig ads in 2019…Pls, contact us at email@example.com! @FDATobacco @FTCPhillips @MassAGO @SenatorDurbin @CongressmanRaja…”
This is a developing story.