Cosmetic surgery ads targeted at under-18s to be banned

Written by Jack Ingee, CNN

Cosmetic surgery ads targeting under-18s to be banned from May

Under-18s banned from drinking alcoholic beverages

An advertising ban on cosmetic surgery ads targeting under-18s will come into force on May 11, 2018.

The measure follows extensive research into youth culture by the European Commission’s enforcement services, the Joint Action against Advertisers (JAAA). It commissioned the MAAA to investigate the advertising and promotion of beauty products and related services to young consumers.

“With millennials more commonly opting to spend their money on shopping and entertainment, it was time to finally raise the minimum age for cosmetic surgery advertising to 18, in line with legislation currently in place in other member states,” said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

The ban will include the advertising of non-surgical body contouring, including cosmetic aesthetic procedures and aesthetic lasers and peels, as well as cosmetic dermatology.

“Young people have rights too, and this measure will help safeguard the rights of young people to be protected in this area and to have control over their lives,” said Donald Tusk, minister for youth and sport for the Czech Republic, which will replace Lithuania in the EU in July 2018.

“We will continue to work with the European Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that increased age verification measures are put in place to limit the chances of young people being targeted by unlawful marketing practices.”

The move follows on from an earlier decision to ban the advertising of weight loss supplements to anyone under 18. Although those rules were introduced in July 2016, they were not enforced until May 2017.

“We are used to many examples of harmful advertising practices in the cosmetics and diet space, yet there are a growing number of fake and fake-out drugs advertised via product placement in TV, online and other media. We know that children get exposed to harmful advertising and excessive advertising, especially in channels and media where the total number of viewers is higher,” said Tusk.

The Cosmetic Surgery Trade Association, a voluntary organization, welcomed the new regulation, adding that its group worked closely with the JAAA and other stakeholders in reaching the decision.

“‘The new regulation will put an end to the long-held practice by cosmetic surgeons, agents and wholesalers of charging higher prices for cosmetic surgeries that are available to older consumers under the current rules,” said John Moorhead, CBI VP at a news conference in Brussels.

Advocates of a total ban on the ads say that there is no such thing as “good or bad” advertising.

“We think all advertising should be banned on both adults and children,” said Mark Riley, CEO of Not Dead Yet, a UK-based organization which opposes unethical practices in the cosmetic surgery industry.

“One of the big health problems in the UK is that people have had liposuction when they shouldn’t have, and that harms their health,” said Riley. “But we believe in free market principles and we can see both sides.”

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