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1.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(3): e27894, 2022 03 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770881

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Puff Bars are e-cigarettes that continued marketing flavored products by exploiting the US Food and Drug Administration exemption for disposable devices. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine discussions related to Puff Bar on Twitter to identify tobacco regulation and policy themes as well as unanticipated outcomes of regulatory loopholes. METHODS: Of 8519 original tweets related to Puff Bar collected from July 13, 2020, to August 13, 2020, a random 20% subsample (n=2661) was selected for qualitative coding of topics related to nicotine dependence and tobacco policy. RESULTS: Of the human-coded tweets, 2123 (80.2%) were coded as relevant to Puff Bar as the main topic. Of those tweets, 698 (32.9%) discussed tobacco policy, including flavors (n=320, 45.9%), regulations (n=124, 17.8%), purchases (n=117, 16.8%), and other products (n=110, 15.8%). Approximately 22% (n=480) of the tweets referenced dependence, including lack of access (n=273, 56.9%), appetite suppression (n=59, 12.3%), frequent use (n=47, 9.8%), and self-reported dependence (n=110, 22.9%). CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to the growing evidence base that the US Food and Drug Administration ban of e-cigarette flavors did not reduce interest, but rather shifted the discussion to brands utilizing a loophole that allowed flavored products to continue to be sold in disposable devices. Until comprehensive tobacco policy legislation is developed, new products or loopholes will continue to supply nicotine demand.


Subject(s)
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems , Social Media , Tobacco Use Disorder , Humans , Public Policy , Tobacco
2.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(4): e26335, 2022 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753277

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are increasing. Some of this may stem from early reports suggesting a lower risk of severe COVID-19 in nicotine users. Additionally, a common conspiracy is that the e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak of 2019 was actually an early presentation of COVID-19. This may have important public health ramifications for both COVID-19 control and ENDS use. OBJECTIVE: Twitter is an ideal tool for analyzing real-time public discussions related to both ENDS and COVID-19. This study seeks to collect and classify Twitter messages ("tweets") related to ENDS and COVID-19 to inform public health messaging. METHODS: Approximately 2.1 million tweets matching ENDS-related keywords were collected from March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, and were then filtered for COVID-19-related keywords, resulting in 67,321 original tweets. A 5% (n=3366) subsample was obtained for human coding using a systematically developed codebook. Tweets were coded for relevance to the topic and four overarching categories. RESULTS: A total of 1930 (57.3%) tweets were coded as relevant to the research topic. Half (n=1008, 52.2%) of these discussed a perceived association between ENDS use and COVID-19 susceptibility or severity, with 42.4% (n=818) suggesting that ENDS use is associated with worse COVID-19 symptoms. One-quarter (n=479, 24.8%) of tweets discussed the perceived similarity/dissimilarity of COVID-19 and EVALI, and 13.8% (n=266) discussed ENDS use behavior. Misinformation and conspiracy theories were present throughout all coding categories. CONCLUSIONS: Discussions about ENDS use and COVID-19 on Twitter frequently highlight concerns about the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 for ENDS users; however, many contain misinformation and conspiracy theories. Public health messaging should capitalize on these concerns and amplify accurate Twitter messaging.

3.
Vaccine ; 39(19): 2684-2691, 2021 05 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178859

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to growing anti-vaccine activism on social media, the #DoctorsSpeakUp event was designed to promote pro-vaccine advocacy. This study aimed to analyze Twitter content related to the event to determine (1) characteristics of the Twitter users who authored these tweets, (2) the proportion of tweets expressing pro-vaccine compared to anti-vaccine sentiment, and (3) the content of these tweets. METHODS: Data were collected using Twitter's Filtered Streams Interface, and included all publicly available tweets with the "#DoctorsSpeakUp" hashtag on March 5, 2020, the day of the event. Two independent coders assessed a 5% subsample of original tweets (n = 966) using a thematic content analysis approach. Cohen's κ ranged 0.71-1.00 for all categories. Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were used to examine associations between tweet sentiment, type of account, and tweet content (personal narrative and/or statement about research or science). Accounts were analyzed for likelihood of being a bot (i.e. automated account) using Botometer. RESULTS: Of 847 (87.7%) relevant tweets, 244 (28.8%) were authored by a Twitter user that identified as a parent and 68 (8.0%) by a user that identified as a health professional. With regard to sentiment, 167 (19.7%) were coded as pro-vaccine and 668 (78.9%) were coded as anti-vaccine. Tweet sentiment was significantly associated with type of account (p < 0.001) and tweet content (p = 0.001). Of the 575 unique users in our dataset, 31 (5.4%) were classified as bots using Botometer. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest a highly coordinated response of devoted anti-vaccine antagonists in response to the #DoctorsSpeakUp event. These findings can be used to help vaccine advocates leverage social media more effectively to promote vaccines. Specifically, it would be valuable to ensure that pro-vaccine messages consider hashtag use and pre-develop messages that can be launched and promoted by pro-vaccine advocates.


Subject(s)
Social Media , Vaccines , Humans
4.
J Addict Med ; 15(6): 512-515, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978616

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 and associated social distancing has presented challenges for individuals engaging in face-to-face mutual help groups (MHGs) such as Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol use recovery. Online MHGs may be particularly appealing to individuals with limited access or inclination to attend in-person MHGs. We examined engagement within the popular "StopDrinking" online MHG, hypothesizing that engagement would increase due to demand for virtual peer support as COVID-19 social distancing progressed. METHODS: We collected publicly available engagement data for StopDrinking from February 19, 2018 through April 30, 2020 while considering March and April of 2020 as months initially impacted by voluntary or mandated COVID-19 social distancing. Using seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models, we predicted daily engagement for this social distancing time period based on all available engagement data collected before April 2020. Kalman filtering with 95% prediction limits was employed to define significant thresholds for observed data to reside within. RESULTS: All days of observed engagement in March and April 2020 were lower than corresponding predicted values. Observed engagement fell below the lower 95% prediction limit for 36% of days, with 15 days in March and 7 days in April having significantly lower than predicted engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Relatively low activity on StopDrinking may signal broader population trends of problematic alcohol use and recovery disengagement during the initial COVID-19 social distancing timeframe. Continued investigation of online MHGs is needed to understand their potential for monitoring population health trends and to understand how such groups might support alcohol use recovery in contexts of crisis and isolation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2
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