By Mike Murphy
In another blow to the vaping industry, CBS Corp., WarnerMedia and Viacom Inc. reportedly said Wednesday that they will no longer air commercials for electronic cigarettes.
CNBC first reported the network bans Wednesday, which come after the Daily Beast reported Friday that CNN — a unit of AT&T’s (NYS:T) WarnerMedia — would stop airing commercials for vaping products. The New York Times confirmed CNBC’s report.
WarnerMedia networks include TBS and TNT, and Viacom networks include MTV and Comedy Central.
“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,” a WarnerMedia spokesperson told CNBC.
A CBS (NYS:CBS) spokesperson told CNBC that it would no longer allow vaping ads, and a Viacom (NAS:VIA) spokesperson said it will “no longer air ads in this category effective immediately.” (The networks agreed last month to merge.)
Cigarette ads have been banned on TV and radio since 1970.
More than 20 TV networks have run commercials for e-cigarette giant Juul Labs in the past two weeks, CNBC reported, with about $2.2 million spent on 900 airings.
San Francisco-based Juul did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.
Federal health officials have recently identified at least seven deaths and around 400 cases of severe pulmonary diseases among people who use e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. There has been speculation that the illnesses were caused by devices that had been modified on the street.
The Trump administration has also announced it will crack down on vaping, targeting flavored e-cigarettes that appeal to youths.
Juul has said it would comply with any new restrictions. “We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products,” the company said in a statement . “We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.”
Earlier this month, the Federal Drug Administration accused Juul of illegally marketing its products as safer than cigarettes.
Juul had an estimated market value of about $38 billion as of 2018, but CNBC reported recently that its value has fallen sharply . In December 2018, cigarette seller Altria Group Inc. (NYS:MO) paid $13 billion for a 35% stake in Juul.