Spotting e-cigarette and vapes in social media: A continuing problem to tobacco product advertising and marketing control
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Independent researcher
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Sirach Lapyai Loysmut   

Independent researcher
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A121
E-cigarette, including vapes, are popular in Thailand, although prohibited under several regulation mechanisms and subjected to total ban, but they are smuggled and sold via social media and in markets. Social media are the main venue of e-cigarette and vapes marketing, selling, promotion and advertising in Thailand. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Line become potential influencers on e-cigarette and vapes experimentation, exposure and purchase.

This study monitored 20 Fan pages and 20 Instagram ID which sell, advertise and promote e-cigarette consumption and analyzed marketing content in the selected media.

A set of social media monitoring tools were conducted to analyze media data, e-cigarette content, advertising appeal and marketing tactics.

Youth groups acknowledged e-cigarette and vapes mostly through Facebook and IG. The purchase was made through Facebook chat box, personal Line chat and IG direct chat. E-cigarette and vapes appear in social media as advertised product, as pleasure and fashionable smoking. E- cigarette and vapes products portrayed in social media were often glamourized as trendy and enticing, suitable for modern teen lifestyle. The broad spread of home delivery logistics and e-money payment system helped to ease e-cigarette purchasing via online media. Product advertising is a tactic used mainly to advertise e-cigarette. Promotional price, free samples and lucky draws are offered in social media to boost sales. Advertising techniques included showing pretty girls as e-cigarette presenters, demonstrate smoking and product review in live streaming, claiming testimonial from customers, opening e-cigarette channels on YouTube and referring to teen idols as endorsers of e-cigarette safety. Social media are venues that teens could buy e-cigarette products, even they are underage.

E-cigarette in social media is a continuous problem to new tobacco product control in Thailand and challenges to the existing regulatory mechanisms and policies.

This project received support from TRC and Thai Health Foundation.

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