Nevin Manimala Statistics

Characterizing Heated Tobacco Products Marketing on Instagram: Observational Study

JMIR Form Res. 2023 Mar 15;7:e43334. doi: 10.2196/43334.


BACKGROUND: Heated tobacco products (HTPs), including I Quit Ordinary Smoking (IQOS), are new tobacco products that use an electronic device to heat compressed tobacco leaves to generate an aerosol for consumers to inhale. Marketing of HTPs is prevalent on Instagram, a popular social media platform.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to characterize posts related to HTPs on Instagram and their associations with user engagement.

METHODS: Through the Instagram application programming interface, 979 Instagram posts were collected using keywords related to HTPs, such as “IQOS” and “heat-not-burn.” Among them, 596 posts were related to IQOS and other HTP marketing. The codebook was developed from a randomly selected 200 posts on the post content by hand coding, which was applied to the remaining 396 Instagram posts. Summary statistics were calculated, and statistical hypothesis testing was conducted to understand the popularity of Instagram posts on HTPs. Negative binomial regression models were applied to identify Instagram post characteristics associated with user engagement (eg, count).

RESULTS: Among Instagram posts related to HTP marketing (N=596), “product display” was dominant (n=550, 92.28%), followed by “brand promotion” (n=41, 6.88%), and “others” (n=5, 0.84%). Among posts within “product display,” “device only” was the most popular (n=338, 61.45%), followed by “heatstick only” (n=80, 14.55%), “accessory” (n=66, 12%), “device and heatstick” (n=56, 10.18%), and “capsule” (n=10, 1.82%). A univariate negative binomial regression model with pairwise comparisons across “product display” types showed that the number of likes for posts with HTP heatsticks was significantly lower compared to posts with HTP devices, accessories, and device-heatstick sets. Multivariate negative binomial regression models showed that HTP-related Instagram posts with a model or lifestyle elements (;=.60, 95% CI 0.36-0.84) or without obvious product advertising information (=.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.89) received more likes.

CONCLUSIONS: It is shown that posts with product displays were dominant among HTP-related posts on Instagram. Posts with model or lifestyle elements are associated with high user engagement, which might be one of the web-based marketing strategies of HTPs.

PMID:36920463 | DOI:10.2196/43334

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