Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among adolescents is increasing at an alarming rate. Reducing youth e-cigarette use is an important public health objective because many adolescents are being exposed to nicotine and other potential harmful constituents through the use of e-cigarettes. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. Thus, identification of the appealing e-cigarette components and marketing strategies is critical to inform the FDA's regulatory authority to reduce youth e-cigarette use. Our Yale research group found that adolescent e-cigarette users found the ability to do smoke tricks using e-cigarettes highly appealing (Kong et al., 2014). However, no information is available on how e-cigarette companies are using vaping images in their advertisements to entice youth and what information youth are learning form social media on how to modify e-cigarettes to produce smoke tricks. In order to fill this critical gap, we are proposing (1) to analyze the content of YouTube videos on how e-cigarettes are manipulated and used to emit visible aerosol to produce smoke tricks and (2) to assess the appeal of vaping images on Facebook advertisements. The findings of this research can inform FDA's goals by providing information on how to reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes to youth by setting product standards to prohibit the manipulation of e-cigarettes, limiting the content of vapor images in advertisements, and developing effective communication strategies for social media.
This study will evaluate social media that can be easily accessed by youth for themes related to the use of e-cigarettes for producing 'smoke tricks' and vapor-themed marketing strategies. The results will inform the FDA on how to regulate e-cigarettes to reduce their appeal to youth by setting product standards, limiting advertisement content areas, and developing effective communication strategies.