Scoring Vaping by Counting Tweets

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

social media

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. -- Some of the more traditional ways retailers can track the rise of electronic cigarettes and vaping products can include everything from the vape-shop population (tripling between 2014 to 2016 to 10,591) to sales statistics (from $1.7 billion to $4.1 billion over the same two-year period), according to a vaping provider.

Today, other, less-conventional metrics are gaining popularity, and in the case of vaping, it’s Twitter.

In a new study, Miami Lakes, Fla.-based VaporFi, a company that sells vaping products, reviewed 55,000 tweets spanning 2015 to 2017. The study revealed a circular pattern of consumer product acceptance, one that started in New York City, then gained momentum on the West Coast. From there, activity jumped to the South, back to the Northeast and then inward to the heartland starting in 2016.

Here are the states and cities that stood out for vaping-related tweets …

Big-city origins

NY tweeting

New York City and Los Angeles were the first and second cities to see a significant rise in tweets about vaping.

West Coast hot spots

golden gate bridge

San Francisco and Seattle were the next two cities to see a surge in Twitter activity related to vaping, the study said. With regards to the number of unique users posting about vaping, California had 12 of the top 25 cities on the study’s list.

Nevada heats up

las vegas strip

The study named Nevada as having the most people posting about vaping, noting that it is one of the states with the fewest laws relating to e-cigarette use and the most vaping shops per capita (186 shops for just under 3 million residents, according to Yelp).

Small towns count, too

ashland oregon

While big cities made their mark in the study, some small towns and suburbs have shown a strong interest in vaping on Twitter. Ashland, Ore, with a population of only 20,684, was the third city behind New York City and Los Angeles to experience a surge in vape-related tweeting.

Winchester, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas with a population of 27,987, showed a consistently high number of unique users posting through the entire period of the study. Second and third in terms of unique users posting per 100,000 residents were Miami Beach, Fla., followed by West Hollywood, Calif.