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E-Cigarette Proliferation on Social Media a Problem for Regulators

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The Food and Drug Administration is undertaking steps to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes although it could be years before the rules are implemented.

One of the huge tasks the FDA faces is how it will control the promotion of this product on social media sites.

Judging by a new study out of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the government has its work cut out for it.

Through unique statistical methodology and the use of keywords over a two-month span in 2012, the researchers found 70,000 tweets alone that mentioned e-cigarettes.

What’s significant is that for every consumer opinion about these smokeless devices, there were nine commercial tweets, nearly all of which provided links to websites. What’s more, a third of the commercial tweets offered coupons or discounts for a product while just over ten percent had to do with smoking cessation.

There are more than 250 brands of e-cigarettes and an estimated four million Americans use them, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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