Addressing E-cigarette health claims made on social media amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Aki Ediriweera

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences with over 73.6 million confirmed cases and 1.64 million deaths worldwide. Amidst the pandemic, there have been unsubstantiated health claims pertaining to e-cigarettes (e-cigs) on social media. It is well known that adolescents heavily use social media for different needs including accessing information regarding their health. These health claims must be addressed to protect the wellbeing of adolescents. While social media provides the opportunity for adolescents to build support networks with others, it is also a place where e-cig companies have utilized attractive marketing practices to entice adolescents to use e-cigs. During the pandemic, health claims have been documented on social media that suggest e-cig use can be protective against COVID-19; these claims have been strategically developed and can mislead adolescents. Moreover, these claims can persuade adolescents to use e-cigs as a way to protect themselves from COVID-19.