Introduction: Little is known on how to communicate messages on tobacco constituents to tobacco users. This study manipulated three elements of a message in the context of a theorybased communication campaign about tobacco constituents: (1) latency of response efficacy (how soon expected health benefits would accrue), (2) self-efficacy (confidence about quitting), and (3) interrogative cue ("Ready to be tobacco-free?"). Methods: Smokers (N = 1669, 55.4% women) were recruited via an online platform, and were randomized to a 3 (Latency of response efficacy) × 2 (Self-efficacy) × 2 (Interrogative cue) factorial design. The dependent variables were believability, credibility, perceived effectiveness of the communication message, and action expectancies (likelihood of seeking additional information and help with quitting). Results: Latency of response efficacy influenced believability, perceived effectiveness, credibility, and action expectancies. In each case, scores were higher when specific health benefits were said to accrue within 1 month, as compared to general health benefits occurring in a few hours. The interrogative cue had a marginal positive effect on perceived effectiveness. The selfefficacy manipulation had no reliable effects, and there were no significant interactions among conditions. Conclusions: Smokers appear less persuaded by a communication message on constituents where general health benefits accrue immediately (within a few hours) than specific benefits over a longer timeframe (1 month). Additionally, smokers appeared to be more persuaded by messages with an interrogative cue. Such findings may help design more effective communication campaigns on tobacco constituents to smokers. Implications: This paper describes, for the first time, how components of tobacco constituent messages are perceived. We now know that smokers appear to be less persuaded by communication messages where general health benefits accrue immediately (within a few hours) than specific benefits over a longer timeframe (1 month). Additionally, including an interrogative cue ("Ready to be tobacco free?") may make messages more effective, whereas the self-efficacy manipulation designed to increase confidence about quitting had no effect. While messages were universally impactful across smoker subpopulations, everyday smokers and smokers with less trust in the government may be less receptive to communication campaigns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health