The Context

Perhaps the broad interest in and the importance placed on social media by industry, policymakers, researchers, and others is based on the assumption that social media activity must impact individual behavior, or at least be a reflection of behavior. However, there is little or no empirical research explicitly examining whether or not this is true – does social media impact individual consumer behavior (or at least reflect it)? The topic of this proposal – electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) – is ideal for addressing this question. These battery-powered nicotine delivery devices have emerged in the U.S. market in the past five years and have had a strong online presence, including within social media. Within the context of varied levels of tobacco control across states and a range of e-cigarette advertising, there were a dramatic increases in awareness and use of e-cigarettes. Contextual factors such as social influence, advertising, and public policy play an important role in tobacco use and rate of adoption.

The Aims of MOCSIE

Matching of Consumers to Social Media Interactions on E-cigarettes (MOCSIE) is a federally-funded research study examining contextual factors (tobacco control activity, e-cigarette advertising, Twitter activity) in relation to e-cigarette purchases, per the Nielsen Consumer Panel data, which records household purchases at the Universal Product Code (UPC) level among over 60,000 panelists. We will triangulate these data sets through ZIP codes and use data from January 2011 to December 2013. Our specific aims are to: 1) examine the association between e-cigarette Twitter activity (volume, sentiment, source) and e-cigarette purchasing behavior (volume) per the Nielsen Consumer Panel data; 2) examine tobacco control policies (prevention, cessation, tax, smoke-free policy) and e-cigarette advertising (traditional, new media) in relation to e-cigarette Twitter activity; and 3) model e-cigarette purchasing through tobacco control policies, e-cigarette advertising, and e-cigarette Twitter activity over time and across states.

Additional Information

Meet Our Study Team:

Carla J. Berg, PhD, principal investigator:!CJBERG

Sherry Emery, PhD, co-investigator:

Regine Haardoerfer, PhD, co-investigator:

Mike Lewis, PhD, co-investigator:

Zachary Cahn, MA, PhD Candidate

Other Resources:

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health:

Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education:

National Cancer Institute:

Questions about this study?

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