TitlePuff Bars, Tobacco Policy Evasion, and Nicotine Dependence: Content Analysis of Tweets.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsChu, K-H, Hershey, TB, Hoffman, BL, Wolynn, R, Colditz, JB, Sidani, JE, Primack, BA
JournalJ Med Internet Res
Date Published03/2022
KeywordsElectronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Humans, Public Policy, Social Media, Tobacco, Tobacco Use Disorder

BACKGROUND: Puff Bars are e-cigarettes that continued marketing flavored products by exploiting the US Food and Drug Administration exemption for disposable devices.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine discussions related to Puff Bar on Twitter to identify tobacco regulation and policy themes as well as unanticipated outcomes of regulatory loopholes.

METHODS: Of 8519 original tweets related to Puff Bar collected from July 13, 2020, to August 13, 2020, a random 20% subsample (n=2661) was selected for qualitative coding of topics related to nicotine dependence and tobacco policy.

RESULTS: Of the human-coded tweets, 2123 (80.2%) were coded as relevant to Puff Bar as the main topic. Of those tweets, 698 (32.9%) discussed tobacco policy, including flavors (n=320, 45.9%), regulations (n=124, 17.8%), purchases (n=117, 16.8%), and other products (n=110, 15.8%). Approximately 22% (n=480) of the tweets referenced dependence, including lack of access (n=273, 56.9%), appetite suppression (n=59, 12.3%), frequent use (n=47, 9.8%), and self-reported dependence (n=110, 22.9%).

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to the growing evidence base that the US Food and Drug Administration ban of e-cigarette flavors did not reduce interest, but rather shifted the discussion to brands utilizing a loophole that allowed flavored products to continue to be sold in disposable devices. Until comprehensive tobacco policy legislation is developed, new products or loopholes will continue to supply nicotine demand.

Alternate JournalJ Med Internet Res
PubMed ID35333188
PubMed Central IDPMC8994141
Grant ListR01 CA225773 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States