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Price-related promotions for tobacco products on Twitter
  1. Catherine L Jo1,
  2. Rachel Kornfield2,
  3. Yoonsang Kim3,
  4. Sherry Emery3,
  5. Kurt M Ribisl1,4
  1. 1Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  3. 3Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  4. 4Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Catherine L Jo, Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 308 Rosenau Hall, CB 7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA; cjo{at}


Objectives This cross-sectional study examined price-related promotions for tobacco products on Twitter.

Methods Through the Twitter Firehose, we obtained access to all public tweets posted between 6 December 2012 and 20 June 2013 that contained a keyword suggesting a tobacco-related product or behaviour (eg, cigarette, vaping) in addition to a keyword suggesting a price promotion (eg, coupon, discount). From this data set of 155 249 tweets, we constructed a stratified sampling frame based on the price-related keywords and randomly sampled 5000 tweets (3.2%). Tweets were coded for product type and promotion type. Non-English tweets and tweets unrelated to a tobacco or cessation price promotion were excluded, leaving an analytic sample of 2847 tweets.

Results The majority of tweets (97.0%) mentioned tobacco products while 3% mentioned tobacco cessation products. E-cigarettes were the most frequently mentioned product (90.1%), followed by cigarettes (5.4%). The most common type of price promotion mentioned across all products was a discount. About a third of all e-cigarette-related tweets included a discount code. Banned or restricted price promotions comprised about 3% of cigarette-related tweets.

Conclusions This study demonstrates that the vast majority of tweets offering price promotions focus on e-cigarettes. Future studies should examine the extent to which Twitter users, particularly youth, notice or engage with these price promotion tweets.

  • Price
  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • Advertising and Promotion

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