Characterizing Self-Reported Tobacco, Vaping, and Marijuana-Related Tweets Geolocated for California College Campuses
Frontiers in Public Health
College-aged youth are active on social media yet smoking-related social media engagement in these populations has not been thoroughly investigated. We sought to conduct an exploratory infoveillance study focused on geolocated data to characterize smoking-related tweets originating from California 4-year colleges on Twitter.Methods: Tweets from 2015 to 2019 with geospatial coordinates in CA college campuses containing smoking-related keywords were collected from the Twitter API stream and
... ly annotated for discussions about smoking product type, sentiment, and behavior.Results: Out of all tweets detected with smoking-related behavior, 46.7% related to tobacco use, 50.0% to marijuana, and 7.3% to vaping. Of these tweets, 46.1% reported first-person use or second-hand observation of smoking behavior. Out of 962 tweets with user sentiment, the majority (67.6%) were positive, ranging from 55.0% for California State University, Long Beach to 95.8% for California State University, Los Angeles.Discussion: We detected reporting of first- and second-hand smoking behavior on CA college campuses representing possible violation of campus smoking bans. The majority of tweets expressed positive sentiment about smoking behaviors, though there was appreciable variability between college campuses. This suggests that anti-smoking outreach should be tailored to the unique student populations of these college communities.Conclusion: Among tweets about smoking from California colleges, high levels of positive sentiment suggest that the campus climate may be less receptive to anti-smoking messages or adherence to campus smoking bans. Further research should investigate the degree to which this varies by campuses over time and following implementation of bans including validating using other sources of data.