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Modified Use of E-Cigarettes and Marketing on YouTube

Principal Investigator: Grace Kong

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 1R01DA049878-01A1

Award Date: 5/22/2020

Institution: Yale University


The goal of this study is to understand ways in which youth modify e-cigarettes, their motivations for doing so, and marketing sources. Study aims are: (1) to identify and characterize modified uses of e-cigarettes and associated marketing sources on youth-accessible YouTube videos, and (2) to examine modified uses and marketing exposure among an online sample of 500 adolescent (ages 13-17) and 500 young adult (ages 18-25) e-cigarette users. To address Aim 1, researchers will identify modified uses of e-cigarettes and marketing using fictitious youth YouTube viewer profiles to search for e-cigarettes using a browser plug-in and custom scripted web-crawling; then they will use machine-learning to automatically code the videos to identify e-cigarette modifications, motivations for modification, marketing sources, and appeal (number of views, number of likes). Subject matter experts in tobacco regulatory science, social media, youth tobacco use, toxicology, communications, and tobacco marketing will assess the potential impact of identified modified uses on e-cigarette appeal, addiction, and health effects. To address Aim 2, researchers will conduct an online survey with 1000 adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users to examine the prevalence, appeal, motivations, risk perceptions, and marketing exposure related to these modified uses and their predictors (i.e., demographic variables, past-month e-cigarette use frequency, e-cigarette dependence, other tobacco/substance use, interpersonal and intrapersonal risk factors). Findings may inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes. 

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