BACKGROUDd. Smoking-related disease and injury is prominent among the numerous health problems on the U.S.-Mexico border, but little is known about the methods that might help promote smoking cessation among the low-income populations in this region.
Method: Media campaigns were combined with different forms of intensive and community-wide interpersonal communication to encourage smoking cessation in a border U.S. city and in a Mexican city. Panels of moderate to heavy smokers were followed in four groups to allow quasi-experimental comparison of smoking cessation rates.
Results: Over a five-year study period smoking cessation rates of 17% (self-reported) and 8% (verified) were observed in panels in the program community (N = 160). In the comparison community (N = 135) corresponding rates of smoking cessation were 7% (self-reported) and 1.5% (verified). Within the program community, no differences were observed in smoking cessation among smokers exposed to a community-wide program and those assigned to receive personal counseling.
Discussion: Although the observed changes in smoking were unexpectedly small in the treatment and comparison groups, the approximately 8% effect size for the community-wide program was close to what was predicted. Results indicate that such programs may yield effects similar to those of more intensive approaches, but further research with greater statistical power will be necessary to confirm that point.