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When Facebook Tried to Censor the Ecig Movement

Filed in News & Politics by on January 5, 2016 0 Comments

a billion lives ecig documentary facebook ads at v2.comA new ecig documentary titled “A Billion Lives,” which explores how vapor devices are helping millions of people around the world transition away from tobacco cigarettes, recently got the attention of the worlds biggest social networking platform: Facebook.

As the number two most trafficked website on the Internet, Facebook’s audience of more than a billion users make it the perfect place to promote a new product or idea. In recent years, Facebook has limited the number of people who are shown a post by a business page. As a publicly traded company, the social media giant made the shift with an eye on the bottom line. Put simply, by limiting the exposure of organic posts, business pages have a much greater incentive to pay for ads. And this is where the problem lies.

For those of you that do not know, nearly every social media platform and online search engine like Google and Bing prohibit certain industries, like tobacco, from promoting their products via paid online ads. Since most government agencies and special interest groups falsely categorize vapor pens as tobacco products, e-cigs have fallen into that caveat of Facebook’s advertising policy. And because “A Billion Lives” is technically a movie about ecig use, Facebook refused to allow the use of paid ads to promote it.

Following the advertising block from Facebook, the film’s director, Aaron Biebert, published a letter addressed to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. In this public letter, Biebert protested Facebook’s anti ecig advertising policy and argued that ecigs do not contain tobacco and therefore should not be categorized as tobacco products. Eventually, the public letter got the attention of Facebook’s advertising team and they agreed to reverse the company policy for the documentary. It also helped that this film is an educational documentary and not a company branded promotional video.

The title of the film, “A Billion Lives,” is based on one scientific estimate published by the World Health Organization (WHO): One billion people are expected to die from tobacco smoking by the end of the century. While WHO’s estimated tobacco death rate is alarming, ecig products are a real solution that is saving millions of lives by getting people off of tobacco cigarettes.

With an ecig, people can receive a small dose of nicotine without ingesting the thousands of known carcinogens found in combustible tobacco. One of the reasons we are rallying behind this film is because it analyzes how the ecig movement is enabling smokers to make a real change, while also divulging how big tobacco, big pharmaceutical companies, the media and other ecig opponents are doing everything in their power to destroy the industry.

With billions of dollars to spend on misleading “scientific studies,” federal and state lobbying, and distorted public relations campaigns, it is becoming harder and harder for the ecig industry to provide accessible and affordable products in the United States. Instead of examining the potential harm reduction benefits of ecig use, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are focused on one thing: sharing profits from the nicotine industry.

This is another reason we encourage every single V2 vaper to do their own part in educating their friends and family members with the true facts about ecig use. Although the documentary does not have an official release date, the filmmakers have released a trailer and say they expect to have it in theaters nationwide in mid-2016. Make sure to share this blog post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and like the “A Billion Lives” official Facebook page for further updates.

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