Project description

What are e-cigarettes? In China no one can answer this question accurately. E-cigarettes were not classified in China; the supervision is still in a blank or controversy region. In fact, e-cigarettes were born in China. In 2004, a Chinese pharmacist named Han Li helped to create and market the first such product.The investigation found that merchants make false advertisements such as “quit smoking” and “clear lungs” to mislead consumers. They also attract young people vaping by sweet flavors, but individuals are not aware of their potential health risks. E-cigarettes generated an investment boom, even some well-known people are also involved. Chinese market is expanding wildly. The project presents the facts and tries to attract public attention.

With the rapid growth of e-cigarette market, the attitudes of different countries toward e-cigarettes are not the same. It is based on the Global Tobacco Control database from 2017 to 2018, we visualized the attitudes and regulations of different countries around the world. The result showed strong regional characteristics and differences:Asia prefers “one size fits all” policies, while Europe tends to control it by very comprehensive standard rather than an absolute prohibition. In 2008, State Tobacco Monopoly Administration mentioned that new tobacco products will continue to be promoted and developed.

We have sorted out the acquisition information of the global tobacco giants since the birth of e-cigarettes, using timelines to show the center of tobacco market is moving to e-cigarettes.

What makes this project innovative?

We set a small questionnaire at the beginning and end of the project to test readers' attitudes toward using e-cigarettes in public, teen vaping and advertising looked like kid-friendly food products. We can measure the impact of this project on readers by calculating how many people have changed their attitudes after reading. This project used the grid maps, which represent each country with a congruent square. It has removed the artificial visible weighting that larger geographic areas lend to a choropleth map. We present how it changes form a normal world map to a grid map, which will lower the difficulties in recoganizing country loactions and be very helpful to understand. It is also difficult for general readers to read the grid map without any reference. So next the main oceans were marked on the map.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The project makes e-cigarettes receive enough public attention. The issue of false advertising, supervision ‘vacuum’ and the gateway effect of teenagers are widely noticed. This project has sparked heated debate on Weibo( The largest social network platform in China) about the effect of quitting smoking, whether it should be banned by government and the new round of investment boom. After this project, more details and issues of e-cigarettes were reported from other media organizations. China usually marks World Consumer Rights Day on March 15 with a string of media exposures. This year e-cigarettes were exposed on the annual "3.15" show by China Central Television (CCTV). We published it again the next day and the effect is significant. A small questionnaire was set at the beginning and end of the project, which can test the readers’ attitudes toward using e-cigarettes in public, teen vaping and advertising looked like kid-friendly food products. We can measure the impact of this project on readers by calculating how many people have changed their attitude after reading. -the proportion of people who thinks E-cigarettes are available to guests at the restaurant decreased by 13%; -the proportion of people who thinks E-cigarettes are acceptable to teenagers decreased by 5%; -the proportion of people who accept e-cigarettes with labeling or advertising looked like kid-friendly food products, such as cartoon images, decreased by 3%.

Source and methodology

It is based on the Global Tobacco Control database from 2017 to 2018, we analyzed the data from policy domains, product classifications and regulatory mechanisms, visualized the attitudes and regulations of different countries around the world. We collected the acquisition information of the global tobacco giants from Bloomberg Terminal, by three categories: traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and the others. A timeline was made to show the center of tobacco market moves to e-cigarettes.

Technologies Used

HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In grid map, we uses JS to reconstructure the map data. All the interactive map was made by D3.js. Other illustrations and infographics were made by Adobe Illustrator.

Project members

Journalist: Zhe Wang, Xingji Lu Designer: Jinghua Li Developer: Jiaxin Liu Supervisor: Mingzhong Geng, Chen Huang, Meng Wei, Jiapeng Wang

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