Tob Control. 2022 May 3:tobaccocontrol-2021-057243. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2021-057243. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: YouTube is a popular social media used by youth and has electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) content. We used machine learning to identify the content of e-cigarette videos, featured e-cigarette products, video uploaders, and marketing and sales of e-cigarette products.
METHODS: We identified e-cigarette content using 18 search terms (eg, e-cig) using fictitious youth viewer profiles and predicted four models using the metadata as the input to supervised machine learning: (1) video themes, (2) featured e-cigarette products, (3) channel type (ie, video uploaders) and (4) discount/sales. We assessed the association between engagement data and the four models.
RESULTS: 3830 English videos were included in the supervised machine learning. The most common video theme was ‘product review’ (48.9%), followed by ‘instruction’ (eg, ‘how to’ use/modify e-cigarettes; 17.3%); diverse e-cigarette products were featured; ‘vape enthusiasts’ most frequently posted e-cigarette videos (54.0%), followed by retailers (20.3%); 43.2% of videos had discount/sales of e-cigarettes; and the most common sales strategy was external links for purchasing (34.1%). ‘Vape trick’ was the least common theme but had the highest engagement (eg, >2 million views). ‘Cannabis’ (53.9%) and ‘instruction’ (49.9%) themes were more likely to have external links for purchasing (p<0.001). The four models achieved an F1 score (a measure of model accuracy) of up to 0.87.
DISCUSSION: Our findings indicate that on YouTube videos accessible to youth, a variety of e-cigarette products are featured through diverse videos themes, with discount/sales. The findings highlight the need to regulate the promotion of e-cigarettes on social media platforms.
Source: ncbi 2