YouTube: A promotional vehicle for little cigars and cigarillos?

Amanda Richardson, Donna M. Vallone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective As the third most popular website in the world, messages embedded in the video-sharing site, YouTube, have the potential to influence tobacco-related attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Despite the growing number of videos depicting little cigars/cigarillos (LCCs), there has been no examination of the portrayal of these products on YouTube. Methods Researchers identified up to the top 20 search results on YouTube by relevance and view count for the following search terms: 'little cigars', 'cigarillos', 'Black and Mild', 'Swisher Sweets', 'White owl', 'Garcia y Vega', and 'Winchester'. Reviewers rated whether videos were 'pro', 'anti' or 'neutral' to the use of LCCs, and documented statistics on the reach and viewer demographics. Several main themes around LCCs were noted, as was video quality (amateur vs professional) and demographics of video participants. Results Of the 196 videos retrieved, only 56 were unique, eligible videos. The majority of these (n=43) were 'pro' LCCs, 11 were 'neutral', and only two were 'anti' LCCs. Videos were primarily viewed by males in the USA and Canada and most were amateur. Common themes included where to purchase LCCs, their candy flavours, and that they are cheap or cheaper than cigarettes, and 'smooth'. Conclusions The vast majority of information on YouTube about LCCs promotes their use. It is critical to monitor content on LCCs posted on YouTube, and develop appropriate health messages to counter pro-LCC content, and appropriately inform potential consumers of the harms associated with their use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalTobacco Control
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine(all)

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