and social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are
routinely used for promotion of E-cigarette use, claims a new study.
Advertising for conventional cigarettes has long been banned in the US.
Researchers from the University of Illinois have found that E-cigarettes are advertised on Twitter on a routine basis, and tweets often have links to commercial websites promoting e-cigarette use.
The researchers compiled tweets and metadata pertaining to e-cigarettes over a two-month period in 2012. Using an innovative statistical methodology and carefully chosen keywords, the research team seized more than 70,000 e-cigarette-related tweets.
Of the 70,000 tweets collected, approximately 90 percent of the tweets were commercial and only 10 percent represented individual consumer opinions.
Of the commercial tweets, nearly 94 percent had linked to websites promoting e-cigarette use.
"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," Huang emphasized.
Contrary to Facebook and a few other platforms, which provide privacy settings, information on Twitter can be accessed by anyone.
"We know very little about what these products are made of and what kind of chemicals are in the e-juice," Huang added.
The findings of the study are likely to influence future FDA regulations on advertising of e-cigarettes and their related products.
The findings were published in the journal Tobacco Control.