E-Cigarette-Related Nicotine Misinformation on Social Media

Subst Use Misuse. 2022;57(4):588-594. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2022.2026963. Epub 2022 Jan 22.


Background. Twitter provides an opportunity to examine misperceptions about nicotine and addiction as they pertain to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The purpose of this study was to systematically examine a sample of ENDS-related tweets that presented information about nicotine or addiction for the presence of potential misinformation.Methods. A total of 10.1 million ENDS-related tweets were obtained from April 2018 through March 2019 and were filtered for unique tweets containing keywords for nicotine and addiction. A subsample (n = 3,116) were human coded for type of account (individual, group, commercial, or news) and presence of potential misinformation.Results. Of tweets that presented ENDS-related nicotine or addiction information (n = 904), 41.7% (n = 377) contained potential misinformation coded as anti-vaping exaggeration, pro-vaping exaggeration, nicotine is not addictive or is never harmful, or unproven health benefits.Conclusions. Anti-vaping exaggeration tweets distorted or embellished claims about ENDS nicotine and addiction; pro-vaping exaggeration tweets misinterpreted results from scientific studies. Misinformation that nicotine is not addictive or is never harmful or has unproven health benefits appeared less but are potentially problematic. ENDS-related messaging should be designed to be easily understood by the public and monitored to detect the spread of misinterpretation or misinformation on social media.

Keywords: Twitter; electronic cigarettes; misinformation; nicotine; social media.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Social Media*
  • Vaping*


  • Nicotine