Cosmetic surgery adverts will be banned for under 18s in 2022

By Becky Bargh | Published: 30-Nov-2021

UK watchdogs have ruled that young people should be protected from ads due to their vulnerability to body image pressures

Adverts for cosmetic surgery will no longer appear in non-broadcast media for under 18s, the UK’s advertising watchdogs have ruled.

Following a public consultation into the vulnerability of young people and body image pressures, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have ruled that, from 25 May 2022, young people should be protected from material that advertises body enhancements.

The regulations also state that adverts for cosmetic procedures must not appear on non-broadcast media where under 18s make up 25% of the audience. Moreover, broadcast ads for such procedures must not appear during programmes aimed at under 18s.

“Children and young people’s body image perceptions and their susceptibility to pressures to change their appearance, including considering cosmetics interventions as a potential means to address those concerns, are influenced by a number of social and cultural factors,” said UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

“Nevertheless, the evidence shows there is potential that exposure to different forms of media including advertising, particularly those that focus on body image ‘improvements’ such as cosmetic intervention procedures, is likely to exacerbate body image dissatisfaction and negativity during vulnerable stages of their lives.”

CAP and BCAP will conduct a 12-month review of the new rules to ensure they are working successfully.

The announcement comes weeks after The Botulinum toxin and Cosmetic Filler (Children) Act 2021 came into force on 1 October, making it illegal for under 18s to get Botox and fillers.

Any clinician or professional caught administering injectables to someone under the age of 18 will be prosecuted.

The ASA has also put pressure on influencers to be more transparent with their advertising content online.

To clamp down on illegal posting, which does not properly label that a post is paid-for, the ASA has named and shamed content creators that repeatedly flout the rules.

Chloe Ferry, Chloe Khan, Jodie Marsh and Lucy Mecklenburgh were all named for misleading customers with their content.

Social media stars can also be put ‘on notice’ if they continue to incorrectly market paid-for content.

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