Responses to antismoking radio and television advertisements among adult smokers and non-smokers


Background: This study examined whether adaptation of existing antitobacco television and radio advertisements (ads) from high-income countries is a viable tobacco control strategy for Africa.

Methods 1078 male and female adult smokers and non-smokers, aged 18–40 years, from major and smaller urban locations in Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, were recruited into groups using locally appropriate convenience sampling methods and stratified by smoking status, gender, age and socioeconomic status. Eligibility criteria included age, smoking status and literacy. Each participant rated five radio and five TV antismoking ads on five-point scales, which were later aggregated into measures of perceived effectiveness, potential behaviour change and antitobacco industry sentiment/support for government actions.

Results For radio ads across all three countries, two health harms-focused ads—Coughing Child followed by Suffering—had the highest odds of a positive rating on the Perceived Effectiveness measure among smokers and non-smokers. For television ads, the strong graphic ad Baby Alive tended to be rated most positively across the majority of measures by all subgroups.

Conclusions This first systematic study of tobacco control advertisements in Africa is consistent with findings from other countries, suggesting that graphic health-harms ads developed and used in other countries could also be effective in African countries. This implies that adaptation would be a successful approach in Africa, where scarce resources for tobacco control communications can be focused on advertising dissemination, saving programmes from the cost, time and technical expertise required for development of new materials.

Perl R, Murukutla N, Occleston J, Bayly M, Lien M, Wakefield M, et al. Responses to antismoking radio and television advertisements among adult smokers and non-smokers across Africa: message-testing results from Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya. Tobacco control. 2014.

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