Modeling Public Sentiments About JUUL Flavors on Twitter Through Machine Learning

Aqdas Malik, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Habib Karbasian, Marko Nieminen, Muhammad Ammad-Ud-Din, Suleiman Ali Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The availability of a variety of e-cigarettes flavors is one of the frequently cited reasons for their adoption. An active stream of discussion about flavoring can be observed online. Analyzing these real-time conversations offers nuanced insights into key factors related to the adoption of flavors, subsequently supporting public health interventions. METHODS: Google's BERT, a state-of-the-art deep learning method was employed to model the first sentiment corpus on JUUL flavors. BERT, which is pre-trained with the complete English Wikipedia was fine-tuned by integrating a classification model, with human labeled Tweets, as training data. A collection of 30 075 Tweets about JUUL flavors was classified into positive and negative sentiments. Finally, using topic models, we identify and grouped thematic areas into positive and negative Tweets. RESULTS: With an average of 89% cross-validation precision for classifying Tweets, the fine-tuned BERT model classified 24 114 Tweets as positive and 5961 Tweets as negative. Through the topic modeling approach 10 thematic topics were identified from the predicted positive and negative sentiments expressed in the Tweets. CONCLUSIONS: JUUL flavors, notably mango, mint, and cucumber, provoke overwhelmingly positive sentiments indicating a strong likeness due to favorable taste and odor. Negative discourse about JUUL flavors revolve around addictiveness, high nicotine content, and youth targeted marketing. IMPLICATIONS: Limiting the content related to flavors and positive perceptions on social media is necessary to minimize exposure to youth. The novel methodology used in this study may be adopted to monitor e-cigarette discourse periodically, as well as other critical public health phenomena online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-1879
Number of pages11
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Volume23
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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