The purpose of this study was to examine how college students post or share JUUL-related content on social media. Using a sequential explanatory mixed-methods design, current JUUL users (n = 667) completed a cross-sectional survey in March of 2019, then 51 participants completed in-person follow-up interviews in April of 2019. Survey questions asked about JUUL-related social media postings and commenting history as well as demographic questions. Interview participants were asked to explain their survey responses and were then shown the survey results and asked for reasons why they and others did not post or comment about JUUL on social media. Qualitative data were coded independently by two coders using NVivo, and analyzed for themes. Survey participant (ages 18-24, mean age 20 years, 50.5% female, and 80.6% white) responses showed 81% had not posted a JUUL-focused comment on social media and had not posted a picture of themselves JUULing in the past year. However, interviewees reported they had continued to post about JUUL on social media but moved away from more public social media accounts (e.g., Facebook); private Instagram and Snapchat accounts were used to post both JUUL use and JUUL-focused content without risk of damaging their personal image to family or potential employers. How social media use questions are asked is critical for understanding college student promotion of JUULing and social norms. Young adults protect their social media presence by not including themselves in JUUL-focused content; thus, the spread of JUULing through private social media like Snapchat or Finstas may not be identified and young adults normalize JUUL use through memes or images.
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Dunlap, Christopher M. II; Lu, Yu; Dobbs, Page D.; Khanal, Nisha; Oehlers, Julia S.; and Cheney, Marshall K.
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