John W. Ayers, Eric C. Leas, et al., 2017
In this study, the authors dove into Twitter to explore reasons why consumers choose electronic cigarettes. Combing through original tweets, while omitting retweets, ads, and spam, the authors developed a representational sample of 2,900 tweets per year for each of the years in question. Between 2012 and 2015, the top reasons cited for ENDS use flipped: in 2012, a 43% of all “reasons for vaping” related to quitting cigarettes or traditional tobacco products. 21% of tweets dealt with issues of social image—the idea that “vaping is cool.” By 2015, tobacco cessation was cited in only 29% of sample tweets while social image accounted for 37% of all reasons for vaping. The authors suggest that the growing social acceptability of vaping, per their twitter research, mirrors how ENDS marketing has changed. Their novel approach to understanding a dynamic public health trend shows how rapidly perception and use of ENDS has changed, even within the past three years. While Twitter is an imperfect medium to study social trends, they hope their research will help future scientists “ask the right questions” about ENDS use. It may also help public health advocates and medical practitioners understand the motivations of ENDS users, ask the right questions, and provide relevant info on the the risks and impacts of ENDS.
Read the full article here: Ayers, Leas, et al. 2017