"Okay, We Get It. You Vape": An Analysis of Geocoded Content, Context, and Sentiment regarding E-Cigarettes on Twitter

J Health Commun. 2018;23(6):550-562. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2018.1493057. Epub 2018 Jul 6.


The current study examined conversations on Twitter related to use and perceptions of e-cigarettes in the United States. We employed the Social Media Analytic and Research Testbed (SMART) dashboard, which was used to identify and download (via a public API) e-cigarette-related geocoded tweets. E-cigarette-related tweets were collected continuously using customized geo-targeted Twitter APIs. A total of 193,051 tweets were collected between October 2015 and February 2016. Of these tweets, a random sample of 973 geocoded tweets were selected and manually coded for information regarding source, context, and message characteristics. Our findings reveal that although over half of tweets were positive, a sizeable portion was negative or neutral. We also found that, among those tweets mentioning a stigma of e-cigarettes, most confirmed that a stigma does exist. Conversely, among tweets mentioning the harmfulness of e-cigarettes, most denied that e-cigarettes were a health hazard. These results suggest that current efforts have left the public with ambiguity regarding the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. Consequently, it is critical to communicate the public health stance on this issue to inform the public and provide counterarguments to the positive sentiments presently dominating conversations about e-cigarettes on social media. The lack of awareness and need to voice a public health position on e-cigarettes represents a vital opportunity to continue winning gains for tobacco control and prevention efforts through health communication interventions targeting e-cigarettes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Public Opinion*
  • Social Media*
  • United States
  • Vaping / psychology*