E-liquid-related posts to Twitter in 2018: Thematic analysis

Addict Behav Rep. 2019 Jun 7;10:100196. doi: 10.1016/j.abrep.2019.100196. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Introduction: E-liquid is the solution aerosolized by e-cigarette devices to produce vapor. Continuously evolving e-liquids, and corresponding devices, can affect user experiences associated with these products. Twitter conversations about e-liquids can capture salient behavioral, social, and communicative cues associated with e-liquids. We analyzed Twitter data to characterize key topics of conversation about e-liquids to inform surveillance, and regulatory efforts.

Methods: Twitter posts containing e-liquid-related terms ("e-liquid(s)," "e-juice(s)") were obtained from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. Text classifiers were used to identify topics of the posts (n = 15,927).

Results: The most prevalent topic was Promotional at 29.35% followed by Flavors at 24.22%, and Person Tagging at 21.47%. Juice Composition was next most prevalent at 17.61% followed by Cannabis at 16.83%, and Nicotine Health Risks at 6.39%. Quit Smoking was rare at 0.57%.

Conclusion: These results suggest that flavors, cannabis, health risks of nicotine, and composition warrant consideration as targets in future surveillance, public policy, and interventions addressing the use of e-liquids. Twitter provides ample opportunity to influence the normalization, and uptake, of e-cigarette-related products among non-smokers and youth, unless regulatory restrictions, and counter messaging campaigns are developed to reduce this risk.

Keywords: E-cigarette, ENDS; E-juice; E-liquid; Nicotine; Social media; Twitter; Vaping.