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Characterising KandyPens-related posts to Instagram: implications for nicotine and cannabis use
  1. Anuja Majmundar,
  2. Matthew Kirkpatrick,
  3. Tess Boley Cruz,
  4. Jennifer B Unger,
  5. Jon-Patrick Allem
  1. Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon-Patrick Allem, Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA; allem{at}


Background This study analysed posts to Instagram related to KandyPens, an open-system pod mod e-cigarette company, marketing its products as aromatherapy devices. The objective was to determine themes, corresponding user profiles and references to types of e-liquid solutions used with KandyPens.

Methods Data consisted of publicly available posts to Instagram with the hashtag ‘#kandypens’ collected from 8 June to 8 August 2018 (n=1775). Identified themes included: product appearance (eg, highlighting design features including colour of device), user experience (eg, vape tricks), flavours (eg, strawberry) and promotions (eg, $10 off). The type of e-liquid solutions (nicotine, aromatherapy and cannabis) used with KandyPens were also recorded. Instagram profiles were categorised into: vaping enthusiast/advocates, influencers, KandyPens’ official Instagram account, vape vendors and average Instagram users.

Results User experience (28.90%) and product appearance (21.80%) were predominant themes followed by promotions (10.08%), and flavours (1.01%). About 32.43 % of posts referenced cannabis-related solutions, 2.98 % of the posts mentioned nicotine-related solutions and 0.11 % of the posts mentioned aromatherapy. Average Instagram users (24.89%) posted the majority of posts followed by vape vendors (20.72%), KandyPens’ official account (17.96%), vaping enthusiasts/advocates (10.75%) and influencers (0.45%).

Conclusion KandyPens markets its products as aromatherapy devices; however, Instagram posts related to these products rarely mentioned their purported purpose. Future research should consider product design, user experience and the co-use of nicotine and cannabis with KandyPens to assess implications related to product appeal and abuse liability.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • nicotine
  • co-substance use
  • advertising and promotion

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  • Contributors J-PA received funding for the study. J-PA and AM conceived of the study and oversaw content analysis procedures. AM analysed all study results and drafted the initial manuscript. J-PA, TBC, JBU and MK revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors have approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This project was partially supported by funds provided by The Regents of the University of California, Research Grants Program Office, Tobacco-Related Diseases Research Program, Grant Number No. 28KT-0003.

  • Disclaimer The opinions, findings and conclusions herein are those of the authors and not necessarily represent those of The Regents of the University of California or any of its programmes.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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