TitleCharacterization of Electronic Cigarette Warning Statements Portrayed in YouTube Videos.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsJones, DM, Guy, MC, Soule, E, Sakuma, K-L, Pokhrel, P, Orloff, M, Trinidad, D, Smith, D, Browley, S, A Walker, P, Bullock, S, Eissenberg, T, Fagan, P
JournalNicotine Tob Res
Date Published01/2021

INTRODUCTION: In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that manufacturers, packagers, importers, distributors, and retailers display an addictive or alternate warning statement on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) visual advertisements. Few studies have investigated the FDA-mandated and other warnings on social media. This study examined the prevalence and content of warning statements in e-cigarette-related YouTube videos.

METHODS: In 2019, The Virginia Commonwealth University Center for the Study of Tobacco Products conducted bi-monthly (February-June) YouTube searches by relevance and view count to identify e-cigarette-related videos. Overall, 178 videos met the inclusion criteria. Staff coded each video for the presence of a visual/verbal warning statement, warning statement type (e.g., FDA-mandated, addiction/tobacco, safety/toxic exposure, health effects), sponsorship, and tobacco product characteristics. A data extraction tool collected the video URL, title, upload date, and number of views, likes/dislikes, and comments.

RESULTS: Only 5.1% of videos contained FDA-mandated warnings and 21.9% contained non-mandated warnings. All videos with FDA-mandated and 46.2% of non-mandated warnings were represented visually. Only 13.1% of industry-sponsored videos uploaded after the mandate effective date had a FDA-mandated warning statement and videos with FDA-mandated and non-mandated warnings had significantly fewer views, likes, dislikes, and comments. Among all non-mandated warnings, 31.3% featured an addiction/tobacco, 18.8% a safety/toxic exposure, and 37.5% a health effects warning.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of FDA-mandated warning statements in e-cigarette related YouTube videos was low. FDA enforcement of the warning statement mandate on YouTube could increase the public's understanding of the addictive nature of nicotine in e-cigarettes.

Alternate JournalNicotine Tob Res
PubMed ID33400781