Arizona researchers study social media’s impact on e-cig users

Jan 22, 2015, 7:21 AM | Updated: 7:22 am

PHOENIX — The Center for Disease Control released a study this month showing nearly two million American children have tried electronic cigarettes over the past three years.

A newer study by scientists in Arizona has set out to learn how much impact social media has on the choices e-cig users make.

Six months into the five-year study, Scott Leischow with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and co-researcher Daniel Zeng have collected enough data to show that most e-smokers are trying to quit tobacco.

“The majority of people who are going to vape shops are doing so because they either want to quit smoking or they want to reduce their smoking,” Leischow said.

Right now, anyone who wanted to learn about the e-cigarette can go online and run a search on the topic. They will find answers to just about any question surrounding the smokeless cigarettes and its popular kin, vapors.

“The problem,” Leischow said, “(is) there is no oversight on the industry ads online.”

And there is little known about the claims being made that e-cigarettes are relatively healthier than conventional cigarettes.

“We don’t really know, and the consumer doesn’t know, what exactly it is they’re getting,” Leischow said. Often, he added, the people providing the information aren’t scientists.

Mark Jreissag with VaporIce in north Phoenix opened his shop more than a year ago and said he has had a steady increase in clientele.

He would appreciate seeing the study’s results and if regulation was recommended he would welcome it.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m here to help my clients quit smoking,” he said.

It would help, he said, if “on e-liquids people advertised what they have in it, so that customers and shop owners know the exact ingredients inside.”

In the meantime, the quality and content control on the e-cigarette and vape industry will remain wild west territory.

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Arizona researchers study social media’s impact on e-cig users