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Cosmetic surgery adverts aimed at teenagers will be banned from next year says the Committee of Advertising Practice


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Cosmetic surgery adverts aimed at teenagers are to be banned from next year.

The new rules mean that companies will not be able to advertise procedures, that would change a person's physical appearance, to people under the age of 18.

The ban will relate to any adverts promoting cosmetic procedures which alter someone's physical appearance. Image: iStock.
The ban will relate to any adverts promoting cosmetic procedures which alter someone's physical appearance. Image: iStock.

The ban comes into force on May 25, 2022.

It will mean that the promotions must no longer appear in television adverts in or around programmes for under 18s or in any media aimed at young people where children and teenagers are likely to make up a significant proportion of the audience.

It's a move that follows a consultation earlier this year by the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice that investigated the need for more age-based restrictions to protect those most vulnerable to body image pressures.

The report found that children and teenagers are very vulnerable to negative body image perceptions. Image: Stock photo.
The report found that children and teenagers are very vulnerable to negative body image perceptions. Image: Stock photo.

The committees say the evidence suggests that negative body image perceptions are indeed 'most prevalent' among children and teenagers, which can have an impact on their 'self esteem, wellbeing, mental health and behaviours'.

The type of adverts to be subjected to the ban next year will include those promoting procedures such as liposuction, facelifts, nose reshaping, teeth whitening, injectable skin treatments, breast augmentation, or reduction.

It follows a move in October this year to ban anyone under 18 from having procedures such as lip fillers and other botox-style injections for cosmetic reasons - a move which campaigners at the time say didn't go far enough.

Both committees say the new targeted rules for adverts will help limit children and young people’s exposure to cosmetic intervention advertising as well as playing a role in mitigating the body image related harms that younger age groups experience.

Worries about body image can affect a teenager's mental health, well being and self - esteem, says the report
Worries about body image can affect a teenager's mental health, well being and self - esteem, says the report

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has been calling for a ban on cosmetic adverts in public places since 2012, such as on billboards or on public transport, after a government report revealed that almost half of all UK adults suffer from negative body image perceptions.

CAP director Shahriar Coupal said: "Because of the inherent risks of cosmetic intervention procedures, and the potential appeal of these services to young people struggling with body confidence issues, it's important we set the bar necessarily high in terms of marketing.

"The new rules will ensure ads can't be targeted at under-18s and, where children and young people do see them, our strict content rules mean the ads can't mislead or otherwise exploit the vulnerabilities of their audience."

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