Frequent Social Media Use Increases Tobacco Use In Youth By 67%: New Study


Social Media increases the risk of people smoking for the first time.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Boston University of Public Health suggests a concerning link between social media use and an increased risk of youth tobacco consumption, including vaping. Published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, the study found concerning social media health effects and that frequent use of platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram was associated with a 67% higher likelihood of smoking in youth who had never used tobacco before.

The research, led by Community Health Sciences Professor Lynsie Ranker, examined data from over 8,600 youth aged 12 and older. In a report, it revealed that those who engaged in tobacco marketing on social media, such as liking or following content from major tobacco brands, faced an even greater risk of initiating tobacco use.

Despite declining smoking in youth among American teens, approximately 10% of middle and high school students, totaling 2.8 million individuals, currently use tobacco products. These social media disadvantages include a significant portion engaging in dual use, particularly with e-cigarettes.

Professor Traci Hong from Boston University College of Communication emphasized the need for regulatory measures to curb this social media health effects and address the promotion of tobacco products on the platform and to educate youth about the associated risks. While the US Food and Drug Administration has regulatory authority over new tobacco products, restrictions on tobacco advertising on social media largely depend on the platforms themselves.

The researchers highlighted the need for social media platforms to self-regulate and the persistence of tobacco companies in marketing their products through branded accounts and influencer collaborations. They called for government intervention to regulate tobacco marketing on social media, similar to regulations imposed on traditional media channels like television and print advertisements.

The findings underscore the urgent need for parental supervision of children’s social media usage and government action to curb kids smoking cigarettes by addressing tobacco marketing practices targeting youth on these platforms.

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