Media monitoring: advertising for tobacco and related products in social media
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German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany
Publication date: 2023-04-25
Corresponding author
Christopher Heidt   

German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement):A41
Social media platforms allow individuals and companies to connect and create, share and interact with content including text, videos, photos and links. Therefore, social media are often used for marketing which includes promotions via paid digital advertising or via compensated ‘influencers’ with large networks. Youth and young adults are particularly exposed to appeal of tobacco use in social media marketing. In the European Union, advertising for tobacco products and e-cigarettes is banned on TV, radio, print, Internet and in social media. However, it is often difficult to distinguish between advertising and user content in social media. Some platforms have voluntary self-regulation for products that are harmful to health, such as tobacco. These regulations are sometimes inadequately implemented. To our knowledge, no data on the extent, forms and content of advertising for tobacco and related products in German social media is currently available. Our project aims to close this data gap.

Material and Methods:
The goal of this media monitoring is to understand and describe how advertising for new tobacco and nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products is designed in German social media. For this purpose, social media such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram and forums will be monitored. An automated social media analytical tool will be used to investigate the extent and the form of advertising. Special attention will be paid to advertising via influencers.

Our project will create an overview of the extent and form and content of advertising for tobacco, related products in social media for Germany for the first time. The results will help uncover existing weaknesses in regulation and inform tobacco education efforts. Preliminary results will be presented.

For of tobacco and related products, the analysis of advertising in social media makes it possible to check compliance with existing advertising restrictions. This can serve as a basis for establishing any necessary preventive measures to effectively protect adolescents and young people from advertising for harmful tobacco and related products.

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Directive 2014/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3. April 2014 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products and repealing Directive 2001/37/EC. Official Journal of the European Union: p. L 127/1-L 127/38.
Kong, G., et al., Tobacco promotion restriction policies on social media. Tob Control, 2022.
O'Brien, E. K., et al., Social media use by leading US e-cigarette, cigarette, smokeless tobacco, cigar and hookah brands. Tob Control, 2020.
Partnership between Geekvape and French football club Paris Saint-Germain
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Tobacco Control
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