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J Adolesc Health. 2012 Apr;50(4):334-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Youth access, creation, and content of smokeless tobacco ("dip") videos in social media.

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Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



Smokeless tobacco (SLT) use among white adolescent males has increased in recent years, and prevalence of SLT use among adolescent males exceeds that for smoking in several U.S. states. Recent reports have described the presence of cigarette-related content on social media Web sites popular among youth; however, little has been reported on SLT content.


The YouTube video search engine was searched for the popular SLT brand Skoal, and the first 50 search results were downloaded. Video statistics data were collected for and content analysis was performed on all videos featuring smokeless use (82%). Access to SLT YouTube videos by youth was also determined by assessing whether YouTube permits youth viewing and creation of SLT videos.


Mean number of views for videos analyzed was 15,422, and the most watched video had 124,276 views. Descriptions of SLT flavor/smell and social references/interactions were found in 48.8% and 63.4% of videos, respectively. By contrast, references to drug (nicotine) effects (12.2%) and public health messaging (9.8%) were less common. None of the SLT videos in the sample had restrictions that would block youth viewing. In addition, evidence of self-identified youth creating SLT videos was found for 13% of unique users in the sample.


YouTube does not restrict youth from creating or viewing "dip videos." Proactive efforts are needed to ensure that YouTube and other online media do not become influential vehicles for tobacco promotion to youth.

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