Monday June 24, 2019

Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here’s How

They found that 99.6 per cent indicated positive sentiments towards hookah use and only one post (0.4 per cent) mentioned its negative health effects

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Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here's How
Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here's How. Pixabay

Posts with hashtags, such as #hookah or #shisha, on social media platforms may portray its use in an overwhelmingly positive manner despite its serious health risks, a new study suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Health Education and Behavior, suggested that the portrayal and promotion of hookah smoking on social media can normalise its use and pose public health challenges.

A team of researchers from Florida International University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Miami, the Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh selected 279 posts from 11,517 posts tagged hookah or shisha within a four-day period.

They found that 99.6 per cent indicated positive sentiments towards hookah use and only one post (0.4 per cent) mentioned its negative health effects.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that smoking hookah can lead to nicotine dependence and many other known smoking-related illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease,” the researchers said.

hookah
Representational image. Pixabay

“This study represents an important step in identifying hookah-related themes on Instagram and demonstrates the value in using data from this social platform to complement and extend our understanding of health behaviours,” they added.

The researchers also found that 10 per cent of all posts used the hashtag #HookahAddiction, signalling that nicotine addiction is not perceived as a health risk that would discourage potential users but instead is referred to ironically or as a “badge of honour”.

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The researchers commented that policymakers and others should explore approaches for reducing the number of promotional posts, for example, by creating campaigns to counter-market positive themes presented on social media.

“These findings can inform the design of future tobacco control media campaigns aimed at countering the normalization of hookah use on social media,” the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Comments on Social Media May Hinder Credibility of Health Professionals

The only factor that influenced viewers’ perception of the profile owner’s professionalism was a single work day frustration comment

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India Polls, Fake News, Millions
Mostly first-time smartphone users, from the smaller towns and rural areas with no prior digital experience -- are particularly vulnerable to sharing fake information on social media platforms. Pixabay

For health professionals, posting a single negative comment on their Facebook profiles may hinder their credibility with current or potential clients, according to a study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, show that Facebook posts that may affect people’s perceptions of professionalism.

Researchers found that only one subtle comment posted expressing workplace frustration was enough for people to view one as a less credible health professional.

“This study provides the first evidence of the impact a health professionals’ personal online disclosures can have on his/her credibility,” said Serge Desmarais, Professor at the University of Guelph in Canada.

“This finding is significant not only because health professionals use social media in their personal lives, but are also encouraged to use it to promote themselves and engage with the public,” Desmarais said.

For the study, the research team involved more than 350 participants who viewed a mock Facebook profile and rated the profile owner’s credibility and then rated their own willingness to become his client.

carbon, digital
Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. VOA

The researchers tested factors, including the identified gender of the Facebook profile owner, whether they listed their profession as a veterinarian or medical physician and whether their profile included a posting of an ambiguous work day comment or a comment expressing frustration.

The only factor that influenced viewers’ perception of the profile owner’s professionalism was a single work day frustration comment.

On a scale from 0 to 100, the profile with the negative workday comment was rated 11 points lower (56.7) than the one with an ambiguous work day comment (67.9).

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“That’s a meaningful drop. This shows that it takes just one simple comment for people to view you as less professional and to decide they don’t want to become a client of yours,” said Desmarais.

“Depending on who sees your posts, you may really hurt your reputation just by being up late one night, feeling frustrated and posting your thoughts online,” Desmarais added. (IANS)