This study examines whether self-reported exposure to cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, and hookah advertising, and engagement with pro-tobacco and anti-tobacco social media, are associated with past 30-day tobacco use one-year later, among young adults.
Data were from two waves of the Marketing and Promotions Across Colleges in Texas study, a multi-wave study of two- and four-year Texas college students (N = 3947; M age = 23.3, SD = 2.3; 64% female; 35% white, 31% Hispanic, 19% Asian, 8% African-American/black, 7% multi-racial/other) from 24 urban-area schools. Multiple logistic regression examined longitudinal associations between recall of exposure and engagement at baseline (wave 6, spring 2017) and tobacco use at one-year follow-up (wave 7, spring 2018), accounting for baseline demographic characteristics and tobacco use.
Self-reported exposure to and engagement with tobacco-related social media were significantly associated with past 30-day use of e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah at one-year follow up; engagement was also associated with cigarette use. Controlling for other social media, exposure to any product advertising via Reddit increased risk for e-cigarette use (AOR = 1.92 [95% CI: 1.17-3.14]). Pinterest exposure increased risk for cigar use (2.92 [1.24-6.85]). Snapchat exposure increased risk for hookah use (2.94 [1.70-5.11]). Pro-tobacco engagement increased risk for future use of all products (1.77 [1.29-2.42]). Anti-tobacco engagement increased risk for use of cigars (1.59 [1.12-2.27]) and hookah (1.69 [1.27-2.25]).
Findings demonstrate that encountering tobacco-related social media is an important risk factor for future tobacco use among young people. Social media should be a focus of federal regulation, counter-marketing and health communication campaigns, and intervention.
Published by Elsevier B.V.