Introduction Little is known about little filtered cigar (LFC) marketing on social media. We examined the characteristics of Instagram posts by Cheyenne—a popular LFC brand—from 2019 to 2020.
Methods We conducted a content analysis of 323 images posted in 2019 and 2020. Descriptive statistics were examined, and χ2 and Fisher’s exact tests were used to test differences by year.
Results Most posts (76.0%) showed ≥1 pack and/or LFC stick, which look highly similar to cigarette packs and sticks. The pack was often flavoured (62.2%). Images of lit LFC sticks increased from 2019 (12.2%) to 2020 (26.7%, p=0.005). Warning labels were present on the ad in 79.9% of posts, but always at the bottom, and used the same single warning statement that they are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. The depiction of people nearly doubled from 2019 (18.1%) to 2020 (34.8%, p=0.001), and women (50.6%) were more commonly depicted than men (32.1%). Popular depictions and themes included the outdoors (57.6%) and seasonal imagery (36.2%) among others.
Discussion Cheyenne actively used Instagram to market its product and grow its brand. Posts seemed designed to promote the similarity of their LFC to cigarettes, through depictions of cig-a-like packs/sticks. Although warning labels were prevalent on Cheyenne Instagram posts, the warnings were not compliant with FDA warning guidelines and might have been counterproductive by emphasising their viability as cigarette alternatives rather than their dangerous health effects. Future surveillance is needed, and regulation of LFC advertising on social media may be warranted.
- Advertising and Promotion
- Non-cigarette tobacco products
- Packaging and Labelling
- Social marketing
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Contributors ELM contributed to the study design (including instrument development) and manuscript writing and editing. CDD contributed to study design/conceptualisation, obtained study funding and contributed to manuscript writing and editing. BS contributed to the study design, data coding and analysis. OAW contributed to study design/conceptualisation, obtained study funding, led data analysis and contributed to manuscript writing and editing.
Funding This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under Award Number U54CA229973. Contributions by ELM were supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the FDA under Award Number K01DA048494.
Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding organisations.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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