Korean J Health Promot.  2019 Mar;19(1):25-31. 10.15384/kjhp.2019.19.1.25.

Comparison of Information between Domestic and International Web-Pages for E-Cigarettes: What Are the Differences between Naver and Google?

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. drloved@hanmail.net


Online health information can influence consumers to make informed decisions. There are conflicting messages online about health concerns on the use of e-cigarettes. We aimed to investigate differences in those messages through Naver and Google's English versions, which are the most representative portal sites in Korea and in the world.
We reviewed the top 100 web pages related to health effects of e-cigarettes on Naver and Google in May 2018. Two medical doctors sorted the web pages into three groups as positive, negative, and mixed messages for e-cigarettes, as well as two groups based on the relative safety of conventional smoking versus e-cigarettes.
There were 10 and 27 positive, 65 and 45 negative, and 25 and 28 mixed messages on Naver and Google, respectively. There were 15 messages on Naver and 53 on Google that considered e-cigarettes safer than conventional cigarettes. The most frequent topics were toxicity (71%) and diseases (22%) on Naver. Google provides topics of health concerns for young people, including gateway effect (47%), diseases (35%), and toxicity (25%). Particularly, harm reduction which was not present on Naver, came up on Google as 24%.
We found that Naver provides more negative messages on e-cigarettes than does Google, which means that Koreans are exposed more to negative information on e-cigarettes than are foreign people who use Google. In future, more open discussions about harm reduction should be conducted to resolve the imbalance in information regarding health effects of e-cigarettes in Korea.


Electronic nicotine delivery system; Harm reduction; Smoking cessation; Internet

MeSH Terms

Electronic Cigarettes*
Harm Reduction
Smoking Cessation
Tobacco Products


  • Figure 1 Distribution of subjects of e-cigarette web pages between Naver and Google.


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