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Promotion of smoking cessation with emotional and/or graphic antismoking advertising

Matthew C Farrelly, Jennifer C Duke, Kevin C Davis, James M Nonnemaker, Kian Kamyab, Jeffrey G Willett, Harlan R Juster
American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2012, 43 (5): 475-82
23079169

BACKGROUND: Antismoking campaigns can be effective in promoting cessation, but less is known about the dose of advertising related to behavioral change among adult smokers, which types of messages are most effective, and effects on populations disproportionately affected by tobacco use.

PURPOSE: To assess the impact of emotional and/or graphic antismoking TV advertisements on quit attempts in the past 12 months among adult smokers in New York State.

METHODS: Individual-level data come from the 2003 through 2010 New York Adult Tobacco Surveys. The influence of exposure to antismoking advertisements overall, emotional and/or graphic advertisements, and other types of advertisements on reported attempts to stop smoking was examined. Exposure was measured by self-reported confirmed recall and market-level gross rating points. Analyses conducted in Spring 2012 included 8780 smokers and were stratified by desire to quit, income, and education.

RESULTS: Both measures of exposure to antismoking advertisements are positively associated with an increased odds of making a quit attempt among all smokers, among smokers who want to quit, and among smokers in different household income brackets (<$30,000 and ≥$30,000) and education levels (high-school degree or less education and at least some college education). Exposure to emotional and/or graphic advertisements is positively associated with making quit attempts among smokers overall and by desire to quit, income, and education. Exposure to advertisements without strong negative emotions or graphic images had no effect.

CONCLUSIONS: Strongly emotional and graphic antismoking advertisements are effective in increasing population-level quit attempts among adult smokers.

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