• April 24, 2024

Study Finds Link Between Social Media, Tobacco Use

 Study Finds Link Between Social Media, Tobacco Use

According to a new study, individuals who viewed tobacco content on social media were more than two times as likely to use the substance compared with those who were not exposed. Both organic content, such as friends’ post, and curated content, or advertisements, were included in the study.

Findings of the meta-analysis were published in JAMA Pediatrics and also showed that even among never-users, those who viewed tobacco-related content on social media were more than twice as likely to use it in the future than non-viewers.

Because results are based largely on surveys conducted at one point in time, a direct cause cannot be confirmed, according to The Hill.

The review included 24 datasets, complete with information from 139,624 individuals, the majority of whom were adolescents. The studies also took place in a range of countries that included the United States, Indonesia and Australia.

“The proliferation of social media has offered tobacco companies new ways to promote their products, especially to teens and young adults,” said study co-author Jon-Patrick Allem of the Keck School of Medicine in a statement.

Those exposed to tobacco on social media were also more likely to have had past 30-day tobacco use, while similar associations of past, current and future use were seen for exposure to tobacco promotions, active engagement with content, passive engagement and exposure among youths and adolescents. 

Individuals who consumed content on more than one platform were more likely to report current use or future susceptibility compared with single platform viewers. 

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat were among the platforms hosting tobacco-related content. Notably, relative social media newcomer TikTok was not included in the analysis, but researchers have plans to conduct further studies on new platforms including TikTok and refine associations by different tobacco form, such as e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.