INTRODUCTION: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Tips From Former Smokers® campaign encourages smokers to get help with quitting smoking by promoting 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Campaign advertisements featuring an offer of help with obtaining free cessation medication aired nationally on radio for 2 weeks in 2016. Similar advertisements aired nationally on TV for 3 weeks in 2017. The comparison period of 2016 radio campaign and 2017 TV campaign was used to examine the characteristics of quitline registrants by a media referral source (TV or radio).
METHODS: Data on the number and demographics of quitline registrants in 2016 and 2017 were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Quitline Data Warehouse. The investigators conducted t-tests to assess the demographic differences between registrants who heard about the quitline through the radio advertisements and those who heard about it through the TV advertisements during the comparison period. This analysis was conducted in 2019.
RESULTS: The registrants who heard about the quitline from radio advertisements were more likely to be male, younger, and have more years of education. However, the registrants who heard about the quitline from TV advertisements were more likely to be Black, non-Hispanic, and have fewer years of education.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that the demographic profiles of quitline registrants vary significantly based on how registrants hear about the quitline (via radio or TV). These differences in the characteristics of registrants can help inform the tobacco control mass media purchasing strategies and may enable media efforts to target the specific subgroups of smokers in a better way.