Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Media Studies

Supervisor(s)

Dr. Daniel Robinson

Abstract

Electronic cigarette (“e-cigarette”) posts on Instagram are increasing daily. Two compelling reasons to investigate e-cigarette content on Instagram are: the large numbers of young people on Instagram and recent research suggesting that e-cigarettes function as tobacco smoking initiation products, especially among teens. For this study, a representative sample of 854 e-cigarette hashtag (“#”) ecig posts were compiled from Instagram in October 2014. A content analysis was then performed on these posts to determine the frequency and composition of such categories as product shots, promotion, event sponsorship, “vape-selfies,” and health-related messages. Noteworthy findings include the preponderance of e-cigarette product shots, “follower giveaway” contests to increase electronic word-of-mouth (“eWOM”), “blowing cloud” contests promoting e-cigarettes and the “vaping lifestyle,” and the near absence of health information concerning e-cigarettes.


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