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Using Social Media to Recruit Youth Who Use Electronic Cigarettes

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Objective: Research is needed to inform effective regulatory policy that can help curb electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among youth. However, several challenges interfere with studying e-cigarette use among youth. Social media may provide an outlet to overcome these challenges. Our objective was to provide instructional information on tested methods for using social media to study e-cigarette use among youth. Methods: We developed 13 advertisements that were used to recruit e-cigarette users 14-24 years old who lived in the United States. We measured the effectiveness of the advertisements and quality of the resulting data. Results: The advertisements reached 422,228 adolescents and young adults, 408 completed the survey, and 212 (52%) passed the quality check measures. The average cost per click was $0.36. Conclusions: Based on the current study, key recommendations for behavioral scientists interested in conducting e-cigarette research among youth include: (1) developing and testing multiple advertisements with the target audience; (2) advertising on social media platforms most commonly used by the target group; (3) tailoring (ie, age and interest) message options; and (4) using multiple types of data quality assurance items.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; E-CIGARETTE; SOCIAL MEDIA; TOBACCO CONTROL; VAPING

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lorra Garey, Research Assistant Professor, University of Houston, Department of Psychology, Houston, TX;, Email: [email protected] 2: Sandra J. Japuntich, Clinician Investigator, Hennepin Healthcare, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Minneapolis, MN 3: Kimberly M. Nelson, Assistant Professor, Boston University, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston MA 4: Lori A. J. Scott-Sheldon, Professor, Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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