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HHS HealthBeat (July 18, 2014)

Marijuana tweets

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study says hundreds of thousands of teenagers get Twitter messages as often as several times a day that encourage use of marijuana.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reviewed eight months of tweets from one site that had the most followers – over 1 million. Working with a data analysis firm, the researchers learned that almost three quarters of the followers were under 20 years old.

Patricia Cavazos-Rehg says this doesn’t prove tweets make teens more likely to use marijuana. But she says:

“It would be very likely that attitudes and behaviors would be impacted by receiving daily ongoing messages of this sort.”

The study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 18, 2014