|Title||Discussions and Misinformation About Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and COVID-19: Qualitative Analysis of Twitter Content.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Sidani, JE, Hoffman, B, Colditz, JB, Wolynn, R, Hsiao, L, Chu, K-H, Rose, JJ, Shensa, A, Davis, E, Primack, BA|
|Journal||JMIR Form Res|
BACKGROUND: Misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are increasing. Some of this may stem from early reports suggesting a lower risk of severe COVID-19 in nicotine users. Additionally, a common conspiracy is that the e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak of 2019 was actually an early presentation of COVID-19. This may have important public health ramifications for both COVID-19 control and ENDS use.
OBJECTIVE: Twitter is an ideal tool for analyzing real-time public discussions related to both ENDS and COVID-19. This study seeks to collect and classify Twitter messages ("tweets") related to ENDS and COVID-19 to inform public health messaging.
METHODS: Approximately 2.1 million tweets matching ENDS-related keywords were collected from March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, and were then filtered for COVID-19-related keywords, resulting in 67,321 original tweets. A 5% (n=3366) subsample was obtained for human coding using a systematically developed codebook. Tweets were coded for relevance to the topic and four overarching categories.
RESULTS: A total of 1930 (57.3%) tweets were coded as relevant to the research topic. Half (n=1008, 52.2%) of these discussed a perceived association between ENDS use and COVID-19 susceptibility or severity, with 42.4% (n=818) suggesting that ENDS use is associated with worse COVID-19 symptoms. One-quarter (n=479, 24.8%) of tweets discussed the perceived similarity/dissimilarity of COVID-19 and EVALI, and 13.8% (n=266) discussed ENDS use behavior. Misinformation and conspiracy theories were present throughout all coding categories.
CONCLUSIONS: Discussions about ENDS use and COVID-19 on Twitter frequently highlight concerns about the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 for ENDS users; however, many contain misinformation and conspiracy theories. Public health messaging should capitalize on these concerns and amplify accurate Twitter messaging.
|Alternate Journal||JMIR Form Res|
|PubMed Central ID||PMC9009382|
|Grant List||K08 HL136857 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States |
K12 DA050607 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
R01 CA225773 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States