Instagram in the US and Asia: a promotional tool for electronic cigarettes among young teens

Instagram aux USA et en Asie : un outil promotionnel de la cigarette électronique chez les jeunes ados

Instagram vector for e-cigarette products among teens?

Exposure to visual messages featuring e-cigarette products on social media is associated with increased usage among U.S. teens. Instagram is the most widely used social media to showcase e-cigarette products and where influencers – for example, bloggers, brand ambassadors – post promotional materials.

Researchers from the Universities of California and Milwaukee analyzed the marketing discourses and characterized the most important influencer actors. Methodologically, the researchers tracked influencers with a public profile on Instagram who posted promotional content about e-cigarettes in 2020, had more than 1,000 followers and a user engagement rate of 1% to 25% per post. The number of followers of influencers between the ages of 13 and 17 was also noted. The study found that there is a highly interconnected network of influencers (n=55) and who have collaborated with over 600 e-cigarette brands worldwide. Asian and American influencers had five to six times more teenage followers than European influencers. 75% of influencers did not restrict youth access to their promotional content on Instagram. 6 e-cigarette brands collaborate with the most influencers (average n=20).

J. Vassey & all. E-cigarette brands and social media influencers on Instagram: a social network analysis. Tob Control 2022;0:1–8. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2021-057053

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