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Study warns about the promotion of tobacco and vaping in social networks in Bolivia

La Paz, Oct 24 (EFE).- A study that was presented this Monday shows the techniques used to promote the consumption of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on social networks due to a legal vacuum in Bolivia, with a potential health risk. of adolescents and young people. The research “Analysis of influencers in social networks that promote tobacco and nicotine products in Bolivia”, developed by the Inter-American Heart Foundation (FIC) in Bolivia, analyzed the content of 31 influencer accounts on Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube between April 2021 and June 2022. “Social networks are a new means of dissemination (of tobacco consumption and electronic cigarettes) because there is no control” and where “the tobacco industry, quite bold, uses young influencers to reach to young people,” explained researcher Anabel Medrano. THE MAIN FINDINGS The study established several stages, one of searching for influencers of different levels, such as those with more than a million followers on their accounts or others with more than 10,000, and then tracking the activity of those accounts and conduct interviews with their administrators. The analysis of the content took as a reference the different types of formats that are used in digital platforms, explained the researcher Sara Suxo. From the sample taken, it was established that 100% of the influencers, generally between 20 and 26 years old, use the Tiktok and Instagram platforms and spread those messages in a universe of up to 8 million followers. Among the contents that were identified is the direct promotion of cigarettes or the practice of vaping, which is the use of electronic cigarettes” as a supposed “healthier alternative” to smoking, the researchers explained. The research established that the ” 100% of the influencers (analysed) were promoting tobacco products and electronic cigarettes,” Medrano pointed out. “Vaping is a lifestyle, I prefer to vape than smoke,” are some constant statements on social networks spread by influencers, Suxo said.Tobacco and e-cigarettes “are actively promoted” by influencers in situations “that seem good” but who exercise “manipulation” to get these products consumed, the researchers said.The study warns that “the industry tobacco company has a great impact on social networks” that “many times is not evident in the population” and recommends education about these risks “from the earliest ages”. A LEGAL VACUUM Since February 2020, Bolivia has had a law that prevents and controls the use of tobacco, however, this rule is not regulated and without this “no control can be exercised,” said the director of FIC Bolivia, Alejandra Garrón. “Promotion and sales tactics, plus these new marketing (strategies) in social networks are capturing our children and youth,” she remarked. The doctor Néstor Rocha, who is a member of FIC Bolivia, maintained that tobacco consumption and the use of electronic cigarettes produce the “same symptoms, signs, diseases and causes of death” and that what differentiates them is the “presentation”. Rocha indicated that, in the same way as tobacco, dyes, additives and flavorings in electronic cigarettes are related to cancer or other diseases in regions such as the mouth, pharynx or lungs. In June this year, the United States banned the sale of e-cigarettes, a measure that China has also begun to apply since this month. According to data from the Bolivian Ministry of Health, some 4,600 people die annually from diseases related to tobacco use. (c) EFE Agency

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Maite Perroni and Andrés Tovar enjoy their honeymoon in this paradise