The impact of cessation media messages on cessation-related outcomes: Results from a national experiment of smokers
Purpose. Examine effects of exposure to two types of cessation advertisements on changes in cessation-related outcomes.
Design. Experimental data from a nationally representative, longitudinal sample of smokers, collected in three waves over 4 weeks.
Subjects. Three thousand and two adult U.S. smokers aged 18+ completed baseline and follow-up interviews at 2 and 4 weeks, from December 2010 to February 2011.
Intervention. Six randomly assigned conditions consisting of repeated exposure to cessation advertisements: why-to-quit advertisements featuring emotional, personal testimonies (1: WTQ-T) or graphic images (2: WTQ-G); how-to-quit advertisements (3: HTQ), a combination of both (4: WTQ-T + HTQ; 5: WTQ-G + HTQ), and no-ad condition (6: control).
Measures. Cessation-related beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and quitting behavior.
Analysis. Multivariable ordinary least squares and logistic regressions testing whether exposure to antitobacco television advertisements were associated with changes in tobacco-related outcomes.
Results. Exposure to WTQ-T or WTQ-G advertisements, both alone and combined with HTQ advertisements, elicited positive change in beliefs, attitudes, and intentions as compared to controls. Smokers in three of four WTQ conditions were substantially more likely to have quit smoking at 4 weeks than controls (odds ratios range from 5.9 to 10.1, p < .05 or better). No effects were found for the HTQ-only condition.
Conclusion. Exposure to WTQ advertisements markedly increases the odds that a smoker will quit in the study period, suggesting positive movement toward successful, long-term cessation. HTQ advertisements did not enhance advertising effectiveness and may not be suitable as a primary message strategy.