Is Social Media The New Smoking?

It occurred to me recently that social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a lot like smoking.

It can have a lot of negative health effects, especially when overused, but it's designed to be addictive. The companies behind social media know about its negative effects but choose to promote it anyway, because it turns a profit. And using social media is just as commonplace as smoking used to be.

If this analogy holds up, we might expect to see...

  • Decreased social media use over time as people realize how harmful it really is. (But with a long tail of users who never quit.)
  • Increased regulation over what social media companies can and cannot do (in particular, regulation requiring disclosure of how social media platforms work and what their effects are)
  • Harmful replacements for social media in the future (analogous to vaping)

Is this analogy a strong one? Or are there big differences I'm missing?