NIH Research Festival
Background Media campaigns have been used to encourage smoking cessation. However, few studies have examined how this population react to smoking cessation campaigns. In this study, we examined young adult smokers’ reaction to two recent smoking cessation campaigns. Methods Twelve focus groups (n=75) were conducted among young adult smokers (ages 18–29) stratified by race/ethnicity (i.e., non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, vs. Hispanic) and education (i.e., some college, vs. high school education or less). Advertisements from two ongoing smoking cessation campaigns (Tips from Former Smokers and Every Try Counts) were shown to the participants. Reactions were solicited using a discussion guide. Discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic analysis through an online qualitative analysis tool, Dedoose. Results Many young adult smokers said they were unaware of these campaigns. Participants expressed that fear appeals used in the Tips from Former Smokers had no immediate relevance to them. They also stated that messages from the Every Try Counts seemed to be dull or condescending. Both campaigns were deemed ineffective. Participants also identified messages in the Every Try Counts campaign as smoking cues. In contrast, elements identified to be efficacious were: relatable health consequences (e.g., tooth loss) and encouraging messages that recognized the difficulty in quitting smoking. Importantly, participants wished to see more facts about the process of quitting smoking. Conclusions Participants expressed a preference towards relatable and encouraging smoking cessation messages. Incorporating these suggestions may increase the acceptance and effectiveness of smoking cessation campaigns targeting young adult smokers.
Scientific Focus Area: Health Disparities
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