Associations between Health-Related Use of Social Media and Positive Lifestyle Behaviors: Findings from a Representative Sample of US Adult Smokers

Subst Use Misuse. 2024;59(4):527-535. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2023.2287199. Epub 2024 Feb 8.


Background: Cigarette smokers have elevated cardiovascular risk factors, which contributes significantly to mortality. Although social media is a potential avenue to deliver smoking interventions, its role in health promotion among smokers remains relatively unexplored.Objective: To examine the uptake and impact of health-related social media use in cigarette smokers.Methods: Using data from the 2017-2020 Health Information National Trends Survey, we evaluated differences in health-related social media use between smokers and nonsmokers. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine the association between social media use and positive health behaviors.Results: We included 1863 current smokers and 13,560 nonsmokers; Most participants were women (51.0%), White (64.6%), and 49.2% were aged ≥50 years. Smokers who used ≥1 social media site for health-related purposes in the past year were significantly more likely to meet the guideline recommendations for: (i) weekly physical activity (AOR 2.00, 95% CI 1.23-3.24), (ii) daily vegetable intake (AOR 2.48, 95% CI 1.10-5.59), and (iii) weekly strength training (AOR 1.80, 95% CI 1.10-2.94). However, the odds of reporting intentions to quit smoking (AOR 1.81, 95% CI 0.98-3.34) and attempts at smoking cessation (AOR 1.68, 95% CI 0.90-3.12) did not differ by health-related social media use.Conclusion: Smokers use social media for health-related purposes at comparable rates to nonsmokers. While our findings indicate that these platforms present a novel opportunity for health promotion among smokers, future research exploring the utility of social media in smoking cessation is crucial.

Keywords: Health-related social media; smoking behaviors; social media; tobacco cessation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Smokers
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Social Media*