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Twitter=quitter? An analysis of Twitter quit smoking social networks
  1. Judith J Prochaska1,
  2. Cornelia Pechmann2,
  3. Romina Kim1,
  4. James M Leonhardt2
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Paul Merage School of Business, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Judith J Prochaska, University of California San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Avenue—TRC 0984, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA; jprochaska{at}


Objective Widely popular, Twitter, a free social networking and micro-blogging service, offers potential for health promotion. This study examined the activity of Twitter quit smoking social network accounts.

Design A cross‐sectional analysis identified 153 activated Twitter quit smoking accounts dating back to 2007 and examined recent account activity for the month of August 2010.

Results The accounts had a median of 155 followers and 82 total tweets per account; 49% of accounts had >100 tweets. Posted content was largely inconsistent with clinical guidelines; 48% linked to commercial sites for quitting smoking and 43% had tweets on e‐cigarettes. In August 2010, 81 of the accounts (53%) were still active.

Conclusions Though popular for building quit smoking social networks, many of the Twitter accounts were no longer active, and tweet content was largely inconsistent with clinical guidelines. Future research is needed to examine the effectiveness of Twitter for supporting smoking cessation.

  • Tobacco
  • cigarettes
  • smoking
  • social media
  • blogging
  • social networking
  • cessation
  • health services

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  • Funding This work was supported by the State of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (#17RT-0077), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (#K23 DA018691 and #P50 DA09253) and the National Institute of Mental Health (#R01 MH083684).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the UCSF.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.