College of Public Health faculty publish on electronic nicotine delivery systems

Dr. Hadii Mamudu, Professor for the Department of Health Services Management and Policy has authored an article in Preventive Medicine Reports.  The article is titled “Social media and use of electronic nicotine delivery systems among school-going adolescents in a rural distressed Appalachian community.”

Dr. Manik Ahuja, faculty, and Aliyah Smith and Christen Minnick, doctoral students in the College of Public Health are co-authors.  Additional faculty and staff co-authors at East Tennessee State University include Dr. Florence Weierbach of the College of Nursing, Dr. Jean Swindle of the College of Education, and Dr. Christian Nwabueze of the Center for Cardiovascular Risks Research.  Additional co-authors include members of California State University, the University of California at San Diego, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the George Washington University.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems are the most used tobacco products among middle and high schoolers in the United States. Familial relations and access play a major role in uptake among adolescents; yet the role of social media in this phenomenon in the context of communities impacted by tobacco-related health disparities is understudied.

In Spring 2019, data were collected from adolescents in 8th and 9th grades in a school located in a rural distressed county in Tennessee to assess social media’s role in electronic nicotine delivery systems uptake. Descriptive and multivariable statistical analyses were performed to delineate factors associated with their use. Of a total of 399 respondents, 12.5 % reported current electronic nicotine delivery system use and 22.1 % indicated having ever discussed them on social media. Closed messaging platforms (Snapchat) and video platforms (Facebook/Instagram/You Tube) were the most reported form of social media used (8.31 % and 8.31 % respectively). Social media use was positively associated with both ever use and current use (OR = 3.98). Parental advice against electronic nicotine delivery system use was positively associated with ever use. In conclusion, social media use was positively associated with both ever and current electronic nicotine delivery system use, and Snapchat was the most popular platform among this population of students.

The results indicate that youth social media engagement may lead to exposure that can influence uptake. Future studies are needed to further examine these associations among distressed communities.