Wanna know about vaping? Patterns of message exposure, seeking and sharing information about e-cigarettes across media platforms

Tob Control. 2014;23:iii17–iii25.
Authors: Emery SL, Vera L, Huang J, Szczypka G.

Background: Awareness and use of electronic cigarettes has rapidly grown in the USA recently, in step with increased product marketing. Using responses to a population survey of US adults, we analysed demographic patterns of exposure to, searching for and sharing of e-cigarette related-information across media platforms. Methods: An online survey of 17 522 US adults was conducted in 2013. The nationally representative sample was drawn from GfK Group’s KnowledgePanel plus off-panel recruitment. Fixed effects logit models were applied to analyse relationships between exposure to, searching for and sharing of e-cigarette related information and demographic characteristics, e-cigarette and tobacco use, and media behaviours. Results: High levels of awareness about e-cigarettes were indicated (86% aware; 47% heard through media channels). Exposure to e-cigarette-related information was associated with tobacco use, age, gender, more education, social media use and time spent online. Although relatively small proportions of the sample had searched for (~5%) or shared (~2%) e-cigarette information, our analyses indicated demographic patterns to those behaviours. Gender, high income and using social media were associated with searching for e-cigarette information; lesbian, gay and bisexual and less education were associated with sharing. Current tobacco use, age, being Hispanic and time spent online were associated with both searching and sharing. Conclusions: U.S. adults are widely exposed to e-cigarette marketing through the media; such marketing may differentially target specific demographic groups. Further research should longitudinally examine how exposure to, searching for, and sharing of e-cigarette information relate to subsequent use of e-cigarettes and/or combustible tobacco.

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