Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

E-cigs heavily marketed on Twitter, study finds

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
One third of commercial tweets offer coupons or discounts to purchase electronic-cigarette (e-cigs) products, a study has found. While advertising for conventional cigarettes has long been prohibited, e-cigarettes are advertised routinely in traditional media (print, television and radio) and social media. The researchers collected tweets and metadata related to e-cigarettes during a two month period in 2012. Using novel statistical methodology and carefully chosen keywords, they captured more than 70,000 tweets related to e-cigs.

E-cigarettes, also known as vaping pens or e-hookas, are commonly advertised on Twitter and the tweets often link to commercial websites promoting e-cig use, according to University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.

The study, published as a special supplement in the July 2014 issue of Tobacco Control released online June 16, has implications for future FDA regulations on the marketing of e-cigarettes and related products.

"There's this whole wild west of social media platforms -- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- and the FDA has no way to track what's happening in those platforms," said Jidong Huang, senior research scientist at UIC's Institute for Health Research and Policy and lead author of the study.

While advertising for conventional cigarettes has long been prohibited, e-cigarettes are advertised routinely in traditional media (print, television and radio) and social media. The researchers collected tweets and metadata related to e-cigarettes during a two month period in 2012. Using novel statistical methodology and carefully chosen keywords, they captured more than 70,000 tweets related to e-cigs.

Among those 70,000 tweets, nearly 90 percent were commercial tweets and only 10 percent were 'organic,' or individual consumer opinions. Fully 94 percent of the commercial tweets included a website link, while only 11 percent of the organic tweets did.

Of the commercial tweets, 11 percent mentioned quitting smoking, and more than one-third offered coupons or discounts to purchase e-cig products.

Although only 11 percent of commercial tweets referenced smoking cessation, the absolute number is significant, Huang said, if considered over longer timeframes than the two months of the study.

Twitter is the second-largest search engine after Google.

"If kids or youth search for 'vaping pen' or 'e-cig' on Twitter, they will get links to commercial sites where they can purchase these items," said Huang. Unlike Facebook and some other platforms where one can set privacy controls, all information on Twitter is accessible to anyone.

Previous research has demonstrated rapid growth in use and awareness of e-cigarettes among adults and youth in recent years. However, there is limited evidence related to the products' long-term health impact, efficacy in smoking cessation -- or role as a "gateway" to other tobacco products.

"We know very little about what these products are made of and what kind of chemicals are in the e-juice," Huang said.

The study did not look at who was exposed to the messages, but it is known that Twitter users are primarily young adults (30 percent ages 18-29) and African American (27 percent) or Latino (28 percent).

"Given the substantial youth presence on social media, the marketing of e-cigarettes on those platforms may entice non-smokers -- youth in particular -- to experiment with and initiate e-cigarette use," write the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. The original article was written by Sherri McGinnis Gonzαlez. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. W. Rose, D. C. Barker, H. D'Angelo, T. Khan, J. Huang, F. J. Chaloupka, K. M. Ribisl. The availability of electronic cigarettes in US retail outlets, 2012: results of two national studies. Tobacco Control, 2014; 23 (Supplement 3): iii10 DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051461

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "E-cigs heavily marketed on Twitter, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617092008.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2014, June 17). E-cigs heavily marketed on Twitter, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617092008.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "E-cigs heavily marketed on Twitter, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617092008.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins