Exploring How Social Media Exposure and Interactions Are Associated with ENDS and Tobacco Use in Adolescents from the PATH Study

Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, Xiao Li, Erin Kasson, Nina Kaiser, Jacob T. Borodovsky, Richard Grucza, Li Shiun Chen, Laura J. Bierut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Tobacco use is a current public health epidemic that puts individuals at risk for many health conditions and diseases, and adolescents are at high risk for the initiation and persistence of tobacco use behaviors partly due to engagement with social media content. The objective of this study is to examine the association between engaging in social media behaviors and patterns of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and tobacco use at a 1-year follow-up among 11 279 adolescents from the PATH study. Methods: Five social media variables were questioned at Wave 2 and then compared to ENDS and tobacco status transitions (i.e., initiation, persistence, and escalation) at a 1-year follow-up, respectively. Survey-weighted multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence interval. Results: Passive behaviors on social media were related to higher likelihoods of starting to use ENDS and other tobacco products. Additionally, active behaviors on social media were related to higher likelihoods for the initiation and persistence of tobacco use. In particular, sending tobacco content to other users was further associated with a higher likelihood of escalation of tobacco product use. Discussion: Both exposure to and interactions with social media tobacco content had a significant impact on the patterns of ENDS and tobacco use in adolescents. Due to the amount of time adolescents spend engaging with online content, social media may be a critical place in which to intervene, possibly with the use of antitobacco or tobacco prevention messages. Implications: The results of this study have implications for public health and the policies surrounding adolescents and their exposure to social media. Reducing the ENDS and tobacco content to which adolescents are exposed has the potential to decrease the instances of initiation and persistence of ENDS and tobacco use. Intervening on social media may prevent or slow the progression of ENDS and tobacco use, and increase motivation and actions toward the cessation of tobacco use in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

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