Promising Themes for Antismoking Campaigns Targeting Youth and Young Adults

In Tobacco Regulatory Science, Emily Brennan and colleagues, including Robert Hornik, assess the impact of various anti-smoking themes in campaigns targeting youth and young adults. The authors surveyed 13- to 17-year-olds and 18- to 25-year-olds for their responses to 20 different potential campaign themes. The themes were aimed at four behavioral targets: preventing smoking initiation among youth (defined as 13-17 year olds), preventing initiation among young adults (defined as 18-25 year olds), stopping progression to daily smoking among young adults, and encouraging cessation among young adults. For each behavioral target, participants ranked the effectiveness of each theme. The authors find that while each behavioral target had different promising themes, three themes were consistently rated as effective: consequences of smoking on mood, social acceptance, and social popularity. These findings could be used to develop more effective anti-smoking campaigns aimed at youth and young adults.