I’m really pleased to report that my study looking at vaping posts on Instagram is now up online in Substance Use and Misuse (there’s a fixed number of copies that can be downloaded for free here). In this work, we took a qualitative exploratory approach to the analysis of #ecig and #vape posts on Instagram. I think perhaps the most important findings are: 1) that vaping is being cast as distinct from smoking (which probably won’t surprise any vapers reading this, but is still something that’s discussed in the tobacco control field), 2) the large volume of commercial content mixed in with content from individual users, which would make enforcing any kind of marketing regulations on social media a challenge, and 3) the extent to which the vaping subculture manifests itself online through hashtags. I think this final point really needs further exploration, especially to discern the extent to which community and identify hashtags are being driven by different user types. Clearly there’s a lot more unpack on all of these questions.
Here’s the full citation for the paper:
Linnea I. Laestadius, Megan M. Wahl & Young I. Cho (2016): #Vapelife: An Exploratory Study of Electronic Cigarette Use and Promotion on Instagram, Substance Use & Misuse, DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1188958
If you’re interested, you can also see my presentation on this work from the Innovations in Global Tobacco Control lecture series back in April here.