Scientific article

Electronic cigarette usage patterns: a case study combining survey and social media data

Published inJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 9-18
Publication date2019

Objective: To identify who were social media active e-cigarette users, to compare the use patterns from both survey and social media data for data triangulation, and to jointly use both datasets to conduct a comprehensive analysis on e-cigarette future use intentions. Materials and Methods: We jointly used an e-cigarette use online survey (n = 5132) and a social media dataset. We conducted analysis from 3 different perspectives. We analyzed online forum participation patterns using survey data. We compared e-cigarette use patterns, including brand and flavor types, ratings, and purchase approaches, between the 2 datasets. We used logistic regression to study intentions to use e-cigarettes using both datasets. Results: Male and younger e-cigarette users were the most likely to participate in e-cigarette-related discussion forums. Forum active survey participants were hardcore vapers. The e-cigarette use patterns were similar in the online survey data and the social media data. Intention to use e-cigarettes was positively related to e-liquid ratings and flavor ratings. Social media provided a valuable source of information on users' ratings of e-cigarette refill liquids. Discussion: For hardcore vapers, social media data were consistent with online survey data, which suggests that social media may be useful to study e-cigarette use behaviors and can serve as a useful complement to online survey research. We proposed an innovative framework for social media data triangulation in public health studies. Conclusion: We illustrated how social media data, combined with online survey data, can serve as a new and rich information source for public health research.

  • Electronic cigarette
  • Use pattern
  • Survey
  • Social media
  • Health informatics
  • Public health surveillance
Citation (ISO format)
ZHAN, Yongcheng et al. Electronic cigarette usage patterns: a case study combining survey and social media data. In: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2019, vol. 26, n° 1, p. 9–18. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocy140
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1067-5027

Technical informations

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