The Juul vaporizer is the latest advancement in electronic cigarette technology, delivering nicotine to the user from a device about the size and shape of a thumb drive. Juul has taken the electronic cigarette market by storm experiencing a year-over-year growth of about 700 percent.
In recent months, stories about a possible Juul craze among teenagers have circulated in the media. In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that parents are fighting a Juul epidemic. In May, The New Yorker told a story about Juul’s presence at high schools in America’s more affluent ZIP codes.
I study ways to inform public health and policy by using data from social media. According to new research my colleagues and I conducted that was just published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, thousands of students sneak this nicotine delivery system on to school grounds to use during school hours.
Using Social Media for Science
Our study adds to this discussion by considering a novel source: posts to Twitter. Because posts on social media reflect the attitudes and behaviors of the public in their own words, researchers can treat this data source like a massive focus group.