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USC TCORS Project 1: Effects of Social Media Marketing and Messages on Tobacco Transitions

Principal Investigators: Jennifer Beth Unger and Tess Boley Cruz

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – TCORS Grant

ID number: 2 U54 CA180905-06

Award Date: 9/14/18

Institution: University of Southern California


More information about e-cigarette product diversity portrayed on social media and how social media exposure impacts tobacco product use would be useful. The goal of this project is to examine how social media portrays e-cigarette product diversity and how this portrayal may affect tobacco product transitions. Study aims are: (1) to analyze continuously collected social media posts that include e-cigarette and other tobacco product-related keywords to determine trends in product marketing and conversations about e-cigarette products and their diverse product characteristics; and (2) to determine whether participation (e.g., posting, liking, sharing) in e-cigarette-related social media, especially posts that contain youth-oriented themes, is associated with tobacco product susceptibility and use among youth and young adults. To address Aim 1, researchers will collect, code, and analyze messages posted on popular social media sites using existing tobacco-related keywords and identifying new keywords; they will identify types of tobacco messages (e.g., youth-oriented messages, health-oriented messages aimed at current smokers) and the characteristics of messages about e-cigarettes that generate the most user engagement and dissemination. To address Aim 2, researchers will analyze publicly-available and accessible e-cigarette-related social media postings generated by participants in a cohort of adolescents and young adults (ages 14-25) in Southern California to determine links between posting and transitions across six stages of tobacco use (non-susceptible never-user, susceptible never-user, single product experimenter, poly-tobacco experimenter, single-product regular user, poly-tobacco regular user). Findings will provide new information about the links between exposure to products and marketing via social media and tobacco product use and transitions.


USC TCORS: Investigating the Intersections of Products with Diverse Populations Related Resources