Background: Mass media campaigns can be an effective strategy to increase quitting activity among smokers, particularly when aired in the context of other anti-tobacco efforts.
Design: A longitudinal study using data collected from smokers identified in a random-digit-dial survey of adults in Grand Rapids MI, prior to the campaign and approximately 6 months after the launch of the campaign.
Setting/participants: Adult smokers who were interviewed in the fall of 2006 and agreed to participate in a follow-up interview approximately 6 months later (n=212).
Intervention: A pilot mass media campaign, branded EX, which used empathy to encourage smokers to "relearn" life without cigarettes, and focused on disassociating smoking from common activities that would otherwise function as smoking cues, such as driving or drinking coffee. The campaign averaged 100 targeted rating points per week on television.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcome measures were five campaign-related cognitions and confidence in quitting. Secondary outcome measures were quitting behaviors.
Results: This 2007 analysis suggests that the campaign generated a high level of awareness of EX, with 62% of the sample demonstrating confirmed awareness and 79% reporting aided awareness. Awareness of EX was associated with significant change in two of five campaign-related cognitions. Awareness was not associated with confidence in quitting or having made a quit attempt.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that a branded, empathetic media campaign that offers smokers practical advice on how to approach quitting can change cognitions related to successful cessation over a relatively short time period.
2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.