Communicating about cigarette smoke constituents: an experimental comparison of two messaging strategies

Federal law now requires the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to disseminate information on chemicals in cigarette smoke, but it is unclear how best to do so. In a 2×2 between-subjects experiment, participants received a message about chemicals in cigarette smoke (e.g., “Cigarette smoke has benzene.”) along with an additional randomly assigned messaging strategy: a “found-in” (e.g., “This is found in gasoline.”), a health effect (e.g., “This causes heart disease.”), both, or neither. Participants were U.S. probability phone samples of 5000 adults and 1123 adolescents, and an online convenience sample of 4130 adults. Adding a health effect elicited greater discouragement from wanting to smoke cigarettes (all p<0.05) as did adding a found-in (all p<0.05). However, including both messaging strategies added little or nothing above including just one. The authors concluded that these findings can help the FDA and other agencies develop effective and parsimonious messages about cigarette smoke constituents. Authors: Baig SA, Byron MJ, Boynton MH, Brewer NT, Ribisl KM. ;Full Source: Journal of Behavioural Medicine. 2016 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print] ;