FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Television ads that
encourage people to quit smoking are most effective when they use a
"why to quit" strategy that includes either graphic images or
personal testimonials, a new study suggests.
The three most common broad themes used in smoking cessation
campaigns are why to quit, how to quit and anti-tobacco industry,
according to scientists at RTI International, a research
The study authors examined how smokers responded to and reacted
to TV ads with different themes. They also looked at the impact
that certain characteristics -- such as cigarette consumption,
desire to quit, and past quit attempts -- had on smokers' responses
to the different types of ads.
"While there is considerable variation in the specific execution of these broad themes, ads using the 'why to quit' strategy with graphic images or personal testimonials that evoke specific emotional responses were perceived as more effective than the other ad categories," lead author Kevin Davis, a senior research health economist in RTI's Public Health Policy Research Program, said in an institute news release.
Davis and his colleagues also found that those who had less
desire to quit and those who had not tried quitting in the past
year had significantly less favorable responses to all types of
smoking cessation ads. The same was true, to a lesser extent, for
smokers with high levels of cigarette consumption.
"These findings suggest that smokers clearly differ in their reactions to cessation-focused advertising based on their individual desire to quit, prior experience with quit attempts and, to a lesser degree, cigarette consumption. These are important considerations for campaign creators, designers and media planners," Davis said.
The study, published online in the journal
Tobacco Control, used data from 7,060 adult smokers in New York State who took part in an online survey.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a
new "comprehensive tobacco control strategy" that would include not
only graphic photos on packs of cigarettes, but bold statements
such as "Smoking Will Kill You."
The proposed photos would include depictions of emaciated lung
cancer patients, a dead body in a morgue, a baby confined to a
respirator (presumably the result of secondhand smoke), and other
consequences of smoking.
The American Cancer Society offers a
guide to quitting smoking.