Anti-Vape Oz Twits

Posted 2nd August 2019 by Dave Cross
Australian researchers Kahlia McCausland, Bruce Maycock, Tama Leaver, Katharina Wolf, Katherine Thomson, Becky Freeman and Jonine Jancey were fortunate to be given money to sit reading posts on Twitter. They found that vape companies and tobacco harm reduction advocates make truthful claims – and they don’t like it one bit.

“The sale of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is prohibited in all Australian states and territories,” write the team, “yet the increased availability and convenience of the internet enables promotion and exposure across countries.”

“A central feature of many universal social media platforms is the sharing of images. As a result of the increased pervasiveness of social media, the role of media, marketing and peer influence in the uptake of smoking has become particularly salient as social media can be a powerful tool used to convey social norms and to influence risk behaviours.”

For their study, titled “‘Keep calm, it’s just vapour: A content analysis of vaping related tweets from Australia”, they looked at how vaping is “portrayed and promoted” on Twitter, looking at the content of Tweets containing an image.

In total, they read 1,303 Tweets. Below is an example of Tweets they didn’t like, taken from their paper:

The team contend there is, “limited evidence supporting [vaping] as an efficacious smoking cessation aid.” Consequently, they say the above posts are “being used in an attempt to circumvent Australian regulation and advocate for a more liberal approach towards personal vaporisers.”

They concluded: “The borderless nature of social media presents a clear challenge for enforcing Article 13 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which requires all ratifying nations to implement a ban on tobacco, advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Countering the advertising and promotion of these products will require cross-border cooperation with other WHO FCTC parties. Further research aimed at developing strategies to counter the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes is therefore warranted.”

Advocating the banning free-speech and evidence-based truth is ridiculously authoritarian and blinkered. It is time for Australia to join the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada in embracing tobacco harm reduction and vaping.

Resources:

  • “Keep calm, it’s just vapour”: A content analysis of vaping related tweets from Australia – [link]
 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker