Wanna know about vaping? Patterns of message exposure, seeking and sharing information about e-cigarettes across media platforms

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BackgroundAwareness and use of electronic cigarettes has rapidly grown in the USA recently, in step with increased product marketing. Using responses to a population survey of US adults, we analysed demographic patterns of exposure to, searching for and sharing of e-cigarette-related information across media platforms.MethodsAn online survey of 17 522 US adults was conducted in 2013. The nationally representative sample was drawn from GfK Group's KnowledgePanel plus off-panel recruitment. Fixed effects logit models were applied to analyse relationships between exposure to, searching for and sharing of e-cigarette-related information and demographic characteristics, e-cigarette and tobacco use, and media behaviours.ResultsHigh levels of awareness about e-cigarettes were indicated (86% aware; 47% heard through media channels). Exposure to e-cigarette-related information was associated with tobacco use, age, gender, more education, social media use and time spent online. Although relatively small proportions of the sample had searched for (∼5%) or shared (∼2%) e-cigarette information, our analyses indicated demographic patterns to those behaviours. Gender, high income and using social media were associated with searching for e-cigarette information; lesbian, gay and bisexual and less education were associated with sharing. Current tobacco use, age, being Hispanic and time spent online were associated with both searching and sharing.ConclusionsUS adults are widely exposed to e-cigarette marketing through the media; such marketing may differentially target specific demographic groups. Further research should longitudinally examine how exposure to, searching for and sharing of e-cigarette information relate to subsequent use of e-cigarettes and/or combustible tobacco.

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