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Expert available on targeting of youth by e-cigarette and tobacco companies

Nathan Walter's most recent work focuses on debunking tobacco-related misinformation

  • Created: February 14, 2020


Evanston — Northwestern University research Nathan Walter is available to speak to media about the strategy employed by tobacco companies and the popular e-cigarette maker Juul to market to youth. A lawsuit filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on February 12 accuses Juul of intentionally and egregiously tailoring its marketing to appeal to underage youth via Cartoon Network’s cartoonnetwork.com and Nickelodeon’s sites Nick.com and NickJr.com.

A leading scholar in the area of communication and health and misinformation, Nathan Walter's most recent work, which is supported by the FDA, focuses on novel methods to debunk tobacco-related misinformation. Walter is an assistant professor in Northwestern's School of Communication and a faculty member in the Center for Communication and Health. His research concerns the evaluation of strategic health messages, media psychology, communication ecologies and correction of misinformation.

Quote from Walter

“The lawsuit sheds light on a very troubling, but regretfully, not surprising, development. For many decades now, the tobacco industry have been very successful in implementing a lifestyle-oriented marketing that targets teens by linking tobacco brand images with hip and risk-taking behavior, which is socially desirable among this age groups. So, JUUL’s intent to market their product on Cartoon Network and Nick Jr is not entirely surprising. As soon as JUUL’s activity received negative attention from the FDA, they immediately turned their focus to social media, where advertising is less regulated and the recruitment of social media influencers remains a gray area.”