An RTI International study found that a national tobacco education campaign launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased intentions to quit smoking. The educational campaign featured graphic, testimonial-style advertisements, according to a Newswise news report.
Researchers surveyed more than 5,000 smokers in the United States before and after a 12-week airing of the campaign, analyzing the relationship between exposure and changes in knowledge, beliefs, and intentions about quitting.
The national campaign, called Tips From Former Smokers, was launched in 2012 and features emotional, testimonial-style advertisements. The ads highlight health effects caused by smoking cigarettes that researchers predicted would influence a change in behavior, as indicated on the Newswise news report.
The results of the study showed that the more frequently smokers saw the ads, the higher their intentions to quit smoking within 30 days and within 6 months. Exposure to the CDC campaign was also linked to noteworthy changes in beliefs about smoking-related risks and increased worries about health.
Jennifer Duke, PhD, co-author of the study, states, “Effects of the campaign showed consistency with previous research indicating that graphic, emotional advertisements are more likely to motivate smokers to try to quit smoking. These findings provide insight into the potential pathways through which the campaign motivated smokers to attempt to quit.”
Duke adds, “Findings suggest that long-term influence of the campaign on U.S. smoking behaviors may be larger than the effects described in previous evaluation studies. Continuous airing of effective campaigns may help decrease the prevalence of smoking and reduce the burden of smoking-related death in the United States.”