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Social Response to the FDA Authorization of Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs)

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Objectives: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sales of heated tobacco products (HTPs) on April 30, 2019. In this paper, I provide a preliminary analysis of social media conversations regarding HTPs and the FDA authorization in the first 60 days. Methods: I examined 574 tweets regarding HTPs to assess tweet characteristics and semantic networks of HTPs. Results: Tweets were more likely to be neutral or anti-HTPs than pro-HTPs regardless of the author type (except for tobacco industry) or genre of the post. There was a small gap (6.4%) between the proportion of pro-HTPs and anti-HTPs among personal tweets. The proportion of pro-HTPs was larger in tweets posted by men (vs women and no sex specified) and from rural areas (vs urban). Nearly one-third of the sample mentioned cigarettes or e-cigarettes, even though the size of posts making claims on inferiority/superiority of HTPs was small. Conclusions: Social media conversations on risks of HTPs as well as surveillance on young consumer target marketing is occurring, and it will be important to assess the impact of tobacco companies' launch of HTP sales in the US to assess public perceptions on HTPs. Continuing surveillance of HTP marketing and risk perceptions will inform tobacco regulations.
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Keywords: COMPARATIVE RISK; HEATED TOBACCO PRODUCTS; IQOS; SOCIAL MEDIA; SURVEILLANCE; TEXT MINING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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