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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