Purpose: To outline the design and present select findings from an evaluation of a statewide anti-tobacco industry youth organizing movement.
Design: A telephone survey was administered to teenagers to assess associations between exposure to anti-industry youth organizing activities and tobacco-related attitudes and behaviors. A group-level comparison between areas high and low in youth organizing activities was planned. Methodological obstacles necessitated a subject-level analytic approach, with comparisons being made between youth at higher and lower levels of exposure.
Setting: Six rural areas (comprising 13 counties) and two urban regions of Minnesota were selected for survey.
Subjects: The study comprised 852 youth, aged 15 to 17 years old, randomly selected from county-specific sampling frames constructed from a marketing research database.
Measures: Exposure index scores were developed for two types of activities designed to involve youth in the anti-industry program: branding (creating awareness of the movement in general) and messaging (informing about the movement's main messages). Attitudinal outcomes measured attitudes about the tobacco industry and the effectiveness of youth action. Behavioral outcomes included taking action to get involved in the organization, spreading an anti-industry message, and smoking susceptibility.
Results: Branding index scores were significantly correlated with taking action to get involved (p < or = .001) and spreading an anti-industry message (p < or = .001). Messaging index scores were significantly correlated with all five attitudinal constructs (all associations, p < or = .001), taking action to get involved (p < or = .001), and spreading an anti-industry message (p < or = . 01). The hypothesized association between messaging scores and susceptibility was not significant.
Conclusion: A youth organizing effort, in combination with an intensive countermarketing media campaign, can be an effective strategy for involving youth in tobacco prevention and generating negative attitudes about the industry.