TitleExploring Factors That Predict Marketing of e-Cigarette Products on Twitter: Infodemiology Approach Using Time Series
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsEzike, NC, Boykin, AAmes, Dobbs, PD, Mai, H, Primack, BA
JournalJMIR Infodemiology
Date Published07/2022


Electronic nicotine delivery systems (known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) increase risk for adverse health outcomes among naïve tobacco users, particularly youth and young adults. This vulnerable population is also at risk for exposed brand marketing and advertisement of e-cigarettes on social media. Understanding predictors of how e-cigarette manufacturers conduct social media advertising and marketing could benefit public health approaches to addressing e-cigarette use.


This study documents factors that predict changes in daily frequency of commercial tweets about e-cigarettes using time series modeling techniques.


We analyzed data on the daily frequency of commercial tweets about e-cigarettes collected between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020. We fit the data to an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model and unobserved components model (UCM). Four measures assessed model prediction accuracy. Predictors in the UCM include days with events related to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), non-FDA-related events with significant importance such as academic or news announcements, weekday versus weekend, and the period when JUUL maintained an active Twitter account (ie, actively tweeting from their corporate Twitter account) versus when JUUL stopped tweeting.


When the 2 statistical models were fit to the data, the results indicate that the UCM was the best modeling technique for our data. All 4 predictors included in the UCM were significant predictors of the daily frequency of commercial tweets about e-cigarettes. On average, brand advertisement and marketing of e-cigarettes on Twitter was higher by more than 150 advertisements on days with FDA-related events compared to days without FDA events. Similarly, more than 40 commercial tweets about e-cigarettes were, on average, recorded on days with important non-FDA events compared to days without such events. We also found that there were more commercial tweets about e-cigarettes on weekdays than on weekends and more commercial tweets when JUUL maintained an active Twitter account.


e-Cigarette companies promote their products on Twitter. Commercial tweets were significantly more likely to be posted on days with important FDA announcements, which may alter the narrative about information shared by the FDA. There remains a need for regulation of digital marketing of e-cigarette products in the United States

Short TitleJMIR Infodemiology