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Impact of vape pen placement in music videos on young adults

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Jon-Patrick Allem,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 28) Grant #: 28KT-0003 Award: $961,915
Subject Area: State and Local Tobacco Control Policy Research
Award Type: New Investigator Awards

Initial Award Abstract

Youth and young adults exposed to depictions of tobacco content in movies are more likely to initiate smoking, but little research exists on the extent and effects of imagery from music videos that are published on youth-oriented video streaming platforms like YouTube. During our ongoing research utilizing social media data, we have observed a potentially effective strategy to market vaping products: placement of these products in music videos. In our recent editorial we described how KandyPens ( had placed their products in 29 music videos in a 24-month period, which collectively received hundreds of millions of views indicating substantial marketing reach.  Product placement in music videos is effective in raising brand awareness, and it may be an effective marketing tool for vape pens; however there is currently no empirical data to answer the following essential questions: 1) what is the overall extent of vape pen product placement in music videos; 2) what is the extent of exposure to these music videos among young adults; 3) is product placement effective at altering perceptions of risks and benefits of use, intention to use, and actual use of the products? This project will incorporate three complimentary studies to determine the extent of vape pen product placement in music videos and its effects on vape pen susceptibility, intention to use, and current use among young adults (ages 18-24) in California. Study 1 will determine the extent of vape pen product placement in popular music videos and content analyze these videos in order to systematically identify themes. Study 2 will survey a sample of young adults to determine the extent of exposure to these music videos and their tobacco related attitudes and behaviors. Study 3 will determine if product placement is effective at altering product appeal (e.g., intention to use) by conducting an experiment where young adults are exposed to videos with and without product placement. The overall goal of this project is to inform potential state and local tobacco policy regulations on advertising and promotions addressing the TRDRP priority area of state and local tobacco policy research. Los Angeles has successfully passed legislation banning other behaviors (e.g., sex without condoms) from videos being produced in its city limits setting a precedent for regulation.