||5R03CA216528-02 Interpret this number
||University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee
||Refilling Addiction: Investigating Marketing for E-Liquid on Instagram
Electronic cigarette (?e-cigarette?) use has been steadily increasing in the U.S. over the past decade,
particularly among adolescents and young adults. With the growing popularity of refillable e-cigarettes, the
liquid used to refill devices (?e-liquid?) has presented itself a distinct health concern. E-liquids most often
contain nicotine, are sold in a range of appealing flavors and colors, and are purchased on a regular basis by
users of refillable e-cigarettes. As there has been no federal regulation of e-cigarettes or e-liquids until recently,
misleading and unauthorized marketing has proliferated online. There is evidence that exposure to marketing
promotes e-cigarette use and the belief in unsubstantiated claims. At present, there is little understanding of
how e-liquids are marketed on social media or the elements of social media marketing that are most appealing
and persuasive to young adults. The goal of this proposed R03 research study is to shed light on the marketing
of e-liquid on the social media platform Instagram, which is particularly appealing to marketers since each post
must contain an image or short video. E-liquid marketing on Instagram has not previously been studied despite
exploratory research suggesting the platform is home to a large volume of e-liquid posts and the fact that
Instagram is used by over half of all U.S. adolescents and young adults who use the internet. To understand
this content, the study team will: 1) document the ways in which manufacturers and retailers of e-liquid market
their products on Instagram, and 2) discern how young adults interpret and respond to social media marketing
for e-liquid on Instagram. More specifically, a content analysis of 2,000 Instagram posts with the hashtags
#eliquid and/or #ejuice will be performed to identify marketing themes and claims, promotional strategies, and
products promoted. Health, harm reduction, and cessation claims, as well as products and marketing
strategies known to appeal to youth will be a focus of analysis. Posts will be drawn from four time periods in
2017 and 2018 in order to capture any changes in content over time. Additionally, the total number of posts
with each hashtag will be tracked to determine trends in the volume of e-liquid activity on Instagram. In
conjunction with this, focus groups will be held with 18 to 24 year olds who use Instagram in the city of
Milwaukee, WI. Each focus group will be centered on discerning participant interpretations and responses to
actual Instagram marketing posts. This research will contribute to understanding of sources of public
perceptions of e-liquids, particularly among young adults, and help to develop the scientific basis for decision
making on regulatory needs and priorities in the social media environment.
From Apple to Werewolf: A content analysis of marketing for e-liquids on Instagram.
, Wahl M.M.
, Pokhrel P.
, Cho Y.I.
Addictive Behaviors, 2018-09-09 00:00:00.0; , .