Skip to main content

CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia ban e-cigarette advertisements amid vaping health crisis

CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia ban e-cigarette advertisements amid vaping health crisis


Following a similar CNN ban last week

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia have all decided to ban advertisements for Juul and other e-cigarette makers amid global health concerns over a mysterious vaping-related lung disease that has claimed the lives of seven people and hospitalized hundreds of others. The decision, reported first this afternoon by CNBC, follows a similar ban from WarnerMedia-owned CNN announced last week.

CBS tells CNBC it will consider allowing vaping ads once research can show definitively that the products are not harmful. WarnerMedia, which has run Juul ads in recent weeks on cable channels it owns like TBS and TNT, will no longer accept such ads, which have spiked, in particular from Juul, since news of the vaping-related lung disease cases came under heightened scrutiny last month. Researchers believe the disease may be caused by an oil derived from Vitamin E found in some vaping products, some of which are bootleg vapes or contain other contaminants not regularly found in mainstream nicotine or THC products.

The vaping health crisis is extending to ads amid state and country bans

“WarnerMedia reserves the right to withdraw advertising from its platforms at its discretion,” a WarnerMedia spokesperson told CNBC. “Given warnings from the CDC, the AMA and the American Lung Association to consumers, our company has revised its policies regarding e-cigarette advertising, and will no longer accept advertising for this category. We will continue to monitor the investigations by relevant medical agencies and may re-evaluate our position as new facts come to light.”

“After reviewing the recent reports regarding the potentially serious health threats posed by e-cigarettes, Viacom has revised its policies regarding e-cigarette advertising, and will no longer air ads in this category effective immediately,” a Viacom spokesperson said in a statement given to The Verge. Viacom recently announced plans to merge with CBS Corporation, after spending the last 14 years as separate entities following a 2005 split that put the broadcast networks and other media and publishing assets under CBS and entertainment channels and Paramount Pictures under Viacom.

Pressure has been mounting worldwide against the vaping industry, which includes nicotine and marijuana-based devices, since the first vaping-related death occurred in late August and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported hundreds of related cases of lung disease caused by vaping. Since then, the CDC has advised against using vaping devices, President Donald Trump has called the Food and Drug Administration to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, and swells of anti-Juul social media sentiment have begun sweeping young nicotine users.

Earlier today, the entire country of India banned any and all forms of e-cigarettes, in a move that will lock Juul and other vape makers out of one of the largest markets on the planet. In the US, Michigan became the first US state to ban flavored e-cigarettes earlier this month, and New York announced its ban on the flavored variant of the devices earlier this week, leaving just tobacco-flavored and menthol variants available.

Update, September 18th, 10:34PM ET: Added statement from Viacom indicating it too is banning ads for e-cigarette companies. The headline has been updated to reflect this fact.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 50 seconds ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto50 seconds ago
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard Lawler34 minutes ago
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.

The Verge
Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Green light.

Good morning to everyone, except for the intern or whoever prevented us from seeing how Microsoft’s Surface held up to yet another violent NFL incident.

Today’s big event is the crash of a NASA spaceship this evening — on purpose. Mary Beth Griggs can explain.

David PierceTwo hours ago
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
Thomas Ricker10:44 AM UTC
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.

Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.