Encouragement, Not Criticism, Helps Minorities Quit Smoking
A new study by the American Legacy Foundation, suggests that encouragement, not criticism, is the best way to influence African-American smokers to quit.
Reported in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion and distributed by the Health Behavior News Service, the study surveyed 4,067 current adult smokers before and six months after the launch of the national "EX campaign" in August 2008. The EX ads featured diverse characters and were promoted on television, the Internet and radio. The tone of the message was sympathetic and encouraged smokers to "relearn" life without cigarettes.
Results showed African-Americans who were aware of the EX campaign had a threefold increase in making a quit attempt during the campaign period. Participants with less than a high school education doubled their odds of trying to quit. This group traditionally has been less likely to receive quitting advice from their doctors or use quit aids than their white counterparts.
This is an encouraging turnaround, considering that past research has shown that mass media smoking cessation campaigns have been less effective among African-American and Hispanic smokers as well as those in low income groups compared to smokers who are better off - despite the fact that this group is most in need of help.