When your smoking is not just about you: antismoking advertising, interpersonal pressure, and quitting outcomes

J Health Commun. 2014;19(1):41-56. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2013.798375. Epub 2013 Aug 22.


The authors investigated the potential for antismoking advertising to generate interpersonal pressure on smokers to quit using the Cancer Institute NSW's Tobacco Tracking Survey, a telephone tracking survey of adult smokers conducted throughout the year with approximately 50 interviews per week (N = 5,448). The survey includes questions relating to recently broadcast antismoking advertisements, including whether smokers have received pressure from family and friends as a result of their seeing the advertisements. The authors conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to predict: (a) receiving ad-stimulated interpersonal pressure; and (b) quitting outcomes. All analyses controlled for smoker characteristics and potential exposure to the advertisements. Compared with ads coded as having a low level of emotion (by independent coders), ads coded as highly emotional were more likely to have generated interpersonal pressure. Ad-stimulated interpersonal pressure was associated with an increased likelihood of recent quit attempts and with salient quitting thoughts, with a greater effect on quitting thoughts for interpersonal pressure generated by highly and moderately emotional ads. These results support previous research suggesting that highly emotional antismoking ads with personal stories or graphic imagery are effective in promoting smoking cessation, and these results help to identify communication processes that contribute to the ads' success.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Friends / psychology
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New South Wales
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Young Adult