Objectives: We assessed which types of mass media messages might reduce disparities in smoking prevalence among disadvantaged population subgroups.
Methods: We followed 1491 adult smokers over 24 months and related quitting status at follow-up to exposure to antismoking ads in the 2 years prior to the baseline assessment.
Results: On average, smokers were exposed to more than 200 antismoking ads during the 2-year period, as estimated by televised gross ratings points (GRPs). The odds of having quit at follow-up increased by 11% with each 10 additional potential ad exposures (per 1000 points, odds ratio [OR]=1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.00, 1.23; P<.05). Greater exposure to ads that contained highly emotional elements or personal stories drove this effect (OR=1.14; 95% CI 1.02, 1.29; P<.05), which was greater among respondents with low and mid-socioeconomic status than among high-socioeconomic status groups.
Conclusions: Emotionally evocative ads and ads that contain personalized stories about the effects of smoking and quitting hold promise for efforts to promote smoking cessation and reduce socioeconomic disparities in smoking.