Exploratory analysis of marketing and non-marketing E-cigarette themes on Twitter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have been gaining popularity and have emerged as a controversial tobacco product since their introduction in 2007 in the U.S. The smoke-free aspect of e-cigs renders them less harmful than conventional cigarettes and is one of the main reasons for their use by people who plan to quit smoking. The US food and drug administration (FDA) has introduced new regulations early May 2016 that went into effect on August 8, 2016. Given this important context, in this paper, we report results of a project to identify current themes in e-cig tweets in terms of semantic interpretations of topics generated with topic modeling. Given marketing/advertising tweets constitute almost half of all e-cig tweets, we first build a classifier that identifies marketing and non-marketing tweets based on a hand-built dataset of 1000 tweets. After applying the classifier to a dataset of over a million tweets (collected during 4/2015 – 6/2016), we conduct a preliminary content analysis and run topic models on the two sets of tweets separately after identifying the appropriate numbers of topics using topic coherence. We interpret the results of the topic modeling process by relating topics generated to specific e-cig themes. We also report on themes identified from e-cig tweets generated at particular places (such as schools and churches) for geo-tagged tweets found in our dataset using the GeoNames API. To our knowledge, this is the first effort that employs topic modeling to identify e-cig themes in general and in the context of geo-tagged tweets tied to specific places of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Informatics - 8th International Conference, SocInfo 2016, Proceedings
EditorsEmma Spiro, Yong-Yeol Ahn
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2016
Event8th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2016 - Bellevue, United States
Duration: Nov 11 2016Nov 14 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10047 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference8th International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism that helped improve the presentation of this paper. This research was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, US National Institutes of Health (NIH), through Grant UL1TR000117 and the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program through Grant PO2-415-1400004000-1. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing AG 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science (all)


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