Reddit has restricted sales — and even the promotion of outside sales — of e-liquid on the electronic_cigarette subgroup (called a subreddit), and all related Reddit forums. The new stance is somewhat confusing, since it even prevents posts that include links to outside websites.
The change is part of a larger policy shift restricting commerce in age-restricted products on Reddit, probably prompted by concern over gun trades in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre. There have also been moves in Congress — ostensibly aimed at sex trafficking — to hold internet sites responsible for illegal activities stemming from ads placed on the sites.
A post by one of the moderators on the electronic_cigarette sub (usually called ECR) yesterday explained what was happening:
Tonight the mod team was contacted directly from the reddit admins offering some clarifications on how the recent policy updates will affect ECR directly.
Here is what we know as fact:
Hardware and accessory giveaways remain unaffected and are allowable under the new policy guidelines
Absolutely NO giveaways for E-liquid of any kind are permissible under these same policy guidelines. This includes pod hardware systems that come with juice
Absolutely no solicitation of e-juice is to take place on the subreddit. That means no more juice vendor sales advertisements are permissible. This includes our sacred sale megathreads unfortunately.
The admin team has made it fairly clear to the ECR mod team that if we wish to remain open on reddit, there must be changes made to both our community giveaway guidelines, as well as our own rule set for post removal as a mod team.
AS OF TODAY, ALL GIVEAWAYS FOR ALL E-JUICE, 0MG OR OTHERWISE, IS FORBIDDEN.
IF YOU ARE A VENDOR, THIS ALSO MEANS NO SALE THREADS REGARDING JUICES. NO SOLICITATION.
Posts containing giveaways for liquid of any kind will be removed. Please give us time to work on updating official policies in the sidebar etc.
We understand that this rule change blows, please understand it is out of our hands. The admins have made it very clear that this will happen, or ECR will be shuttered. We as a community will not let that happen.
We have reached out to the admin team with some clarification questions of our own, namely the possibility of use gift cards/store credit as potential appropriate giveaways in lieu on juice (unlikely due to solicitation policy still affecting this). If and when we learn more, we will continue to update you all.
edit: Please let it also be said, to our longtime vendors and supporters of this subreddit, you know who you are, many of you came well before my time. I’m truely sorry for whatever business impact you may see due to these changes. You’ve changed lives here and you’ve touched people, and you deserve better.
Update 3/22 1700 MST: We have received some further clarification from the admin team. Gift cards and store credit giveaways are completely off the table. If the gift card or credit could potentially be used to purchase a controlled substance, it is not permissible.
At this time, reviews and suggestions regarding juice are fine, we ask that you do not post direct links back to vendor pages within the subreddit.
Vapers in Reddit groups in the U.K. and EU saw similar changes to policy. But while the British vaping subreddit is online, the EU forum has been temporarily set to private as the moderators decide how to handle the shift in direction.
Predictable, the DIY_classifieds sub — where users traded homemade e-juice — has been shut down. “This subreddit was banned due to a violation of Reddit’s policy against transactions involving prohibited goods or services,” says the page.
The ECR changes followed a post in the Reddit announcements subgroup — from admins of Reddit — declaring the new policies on age-restricted products:
We want to let you know that we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain goods and services. As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services, including:
Firearms, ammunition, or explosives;
Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, or any controlled substances (except advertisements placed in accordance with our advertising policy);
Paid services involving physical sexual contact;
Falsified official documents or currency
When considering a gift or transaction of goods or services not prohibited by this policy, keep in mind that Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this. Always remember: you are dealing with strangers on the internet.
The responses to the announcement were swift and almost uniformly negative. As of Friday morning, there were nearly 13,000 comments from unhappy Redditors. Among the expressions of outrage and regret, a post from ECR moderator lestermagneto summed up the feelings of many vapers on Reddit. “We have been model citizens of what reddit can provide,” he wrote.
“Our sub does NOT exist as an ‘end around’ for questionable subject matter, but as a place of education/review/advocacy/safety/fun etc.,” he added. “Vendors have been able to interact with the community in a positive way not only for them in inciting business and getting feedback on their products, but for the community in being introduced to new ones they may not have thought of. NOTHING wrong or off color is occurring at this sub under it’s current moderation and rules. period.
“And it has done NOTHING but extend the life of the users there.”