Mining social media data for opinion polarities about electronic cigarettes.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052818


BACKGROUND: There is an ongoing debate about harm and benefit of e-cigarettes, usage of which has rapidly increased in recent years. By separating non-commercial (organic) tweets from commercial tweets, we seek to evaluate the general public's attitudes towards e-cigarettes.

METHODS: We collected tweets containing the words 'e-cig', 'e-cigarette', 'e-liquid', 'vape', 'vaping', 'vapor' and 'vaporizer' from 23 July to 14 October 2015 (n=757 167). A multilabel Naïve Bayes model was constructed to classify tweets into 5 polarities (against, support, neutral, commercial, irrelevant). We further analysed the prevalence of e-cigarette tweets, geographic variations in these tweets and the impact of socioeconomic factors on the public attitudes towards e-cigarettes.

RESULTS: Opinions from organic tweets about e-cigarettes were mixed (against 17.7%, support 10.8% and neutral 19.4%). The organic-against tweets delivered strong educational information about the risks of e-cigarette use and advocated for the general public, especially youth, to stop vaping. However, the organic-against tweets were outnumbered by commercial tweets and organic-support tweets by a ratio of over 1 to 3. Higher prevalence of organic tweets was associated with states with higher education rates (r=0.60, p

CONCLUSIONS: The organic-against tweets raised public awareness of potential health risks and could aid in preventing non-smokers, adolescents and young adults from using e-cigarettes. Opinion polarities about e-cigarettes from social networks could be highly influential to the general public, especially youth. Further educational campaigns should include measuring their effectiveness.

Journal Title

Tobacco control





First Page


Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Adult; Bayes Theorem; Data Mining; Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems; Female; Humans; Male; Public Opinion; Smoking Prevention; Social Media; Socioeconomic Factors; Vaping; Young Adult


Social Media; Social marketing; Socioeconomic status; Vaping; E-cigarettes

Library Record