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Mobile marketing: an emerging strategy to promote electronic nicotine delivery systems
  1. Jennifer Cantrell1,2,
  2. Ollie Ganz1,3,
  3. Brittany Emelle1,3,
  4. Rakiya Moore1,
  5. Jessica Rath1,2,
  6. Elizabeth C Hair1,2,
  7. Donna Vallone1,4
  1. 1 Evaluation Science and Research, Truth Initiative, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA
  3. 3 Department of Prevention & Community Health, George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health, Washington, USA
  4. 4 Global Institute of Public Health, New York University, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Jennifer Cantrell, Evaluation Science and Research, Truth Initiative, 900 G St NW, Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA; jcantrell{at}

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Recent years have seen significant increases in both traditional and on-line advertising of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).1–5 There has been little research, however, on how ENDS are advertised on mobile channels.

Mobile advertising is a rapidly growing platform and primarily consists of paid advertisements on mobile-optimized websites or smartphone applications (apps), which often appear as mobile banners or videos.6 7 Recent data from 2016 reveal that Americans spend over 3 hours per day on mobile devices8 and that mobile ownership is most prevalent among certain groups, such as young adults.9 Individuals may be exposed to mobile advertisements based on websites they visit and apps used, with potential exposure increasingly dependent on digital activity patterns (ie, the types of websites visited, the types of search terms used) captured via commercial tracking methods. Global mobile advertising expenditures are projected to exceed $100 billion in 2016 and to double by 2019.8

Given recent increases in ENDS marketing and exponential surges in mobile device ownership and use, this study aims to examine the characteristics and content of ENDS advertising on the mobile platform.


Using Competitrack, an advertising service that systematically collects data related to top market US advertisements, we reviewed mobile ENDS advertisements and associated metadata on advertisers, brand, number of observations and appearance on a website or mobile application (app) for a full year, from January 2015 through December 2015. In the first three quarters of 2015, Competitrack monitored 107 mobile apps and 43 mobile-optimized websites to capture …

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  • Competing interest None declared.

  • Contributors JC, OG, BE and RM conceptualised and wrote the article. OG, BE and RM analysed the data. JR, EH and DV provided feedback on the article.

  • Funding This work was funded by Truth Initiative.

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