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Australian smokers' and nonsmokers' exposure to antismoking warnings in day-to-day life: a pilot study
Introduction: Smokers and nonsmokers can encounter a variety of antismoking messages in their everyday life. Antismoking warnings often involve fear appeals to which particularly smokers may react in a defensive manner by avoiding or derogating the messages, or downplaying their personal risk. However, previous studies testing the effects of antismoking warnings have either been retrospective or lab-based, thus introducing potential recall biases and yielding limited ecological validity. We used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to give an overview on the number, type, and locations where individuals encounter such messages and to examine their immediate reactions.
Methods: In an EMA study, 33 smokers and 37 never-smokers logged every encounter with antismoking warnings during 2.5 weeks (1,237 participant days of monitoring). After randomly selected encounters, several markers of defensiveness were assessed.
Results: On average, nonsmokers reported noticing significantly fewer warnings than smokers (M = 0.49/day vs. M = 2.14/day). Both groups saw the majority of warnings on cigarette packages. Smokers reported a significantly higher level of message derogation and a significantly lower level of message acceptance than nonsmokers. There were no differences in feelings of vulnerability between smokers and nonsmokers upon encountering the warnings.
Conclusions: The overall number of encounters with antismoking warnings in people's everyday life is relatively low, particularly among smokers. Smokers are likely to avoid messages and respond defensively, thus limiting their potential effectiveness.
University of Tasmania
Publication titleNicotine and Tobacco Research
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publication4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, England, Oxon, Ox14 4Rn
Rights statementCopyright 2014 the authors