Testing potential disclosures for e-cigarette sponsorship on social media

Elizabeth G. Klein, Elexis Kierstead, Lauren Czaplicki, Micah L. Berman, Sherry Emery, Barbara Schillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Few e-cigarette social media posts are authentic posts to friends; most come from commercially sponsored influencers. Potential disclosure strategies need to be tested to confirm whether users recognize such posts as commercially sponsored. Methods: Between July – August 2019, young adult (ages 16–24; n = 200) participants were recruited to view their native Instagram feed on a laboratory mobile device. Posts from e-cigarette influencers were manipulated to add either #ad or #sponsored while eye tracking software measured visual attention. Participants self-reported their interpretation of the hashtags in open-ended responses. Logistic regression analyses compared recognition of commercial content by condition, and qualitative content analyses summarized the key themes related to the hashtags. Results: The #ad condition had nearly twice the odds of commercial recognition compared to #sponsored (OR = 1.98, CI: 1.14–3.38). Every second of attention paid to the hashtag significantly increased the odds of commercial recognition by 22% (OR: 1.22, CI: 1.00–1.33). Conclusion: The #ad disclosure attracted visual attention and significantly increased recognition of commercial sponsorship from young social media users. Labeling commercially sponsored content on social media is a promising strategy to better inform users about paid social media influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107146
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Health behavior
  • Health communications
  • Health policy
  • Social media
  • Tobacco control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing potential disclosures for e-cigarette sponsorship on social media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this