Quantifying the Persistence of Pro-Smoking Media Effects on College Students' Smoking Risk

Published in: Journal of Adolescent Health, v. 54, no. 4, Apr. 2014, p. 474-480

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Claude Messan Setodji, Steven Martino, Deborah M. Scharf, William Shadel

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Adolescent Health

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Research Question

  1. How persistent is the effect of pro-smoking media messages on college-aged students?

PURPOSE: To quantify the persistence of pro-smoking media exposure effects on college students' intentions to smoke and smoking refusal self-efficacy. METHOD: A total of 134 college students (ages 18–24 years) were enrolled in an ecological momentary assessment study in which they carried handheld data collection devices for 3 weeks and reported their exposures to pro-smoking media as they occurred in the real world. Smoking intentions and smoking refusal self-efficacy were assessed after each exposure to pro-smoking media and at random prompts during each day of the 3-week assessment period. A generalized additive model was used to determine how long the effect of an exposure to pro-smoking media persisted. RESULTS: The effect of pro-smoking media exposures persisted for 7 days. After exposure, smoking intentions immediately increased (.56; 95% confidence interval [CI]: [.26, .87]) and then steadily decreased (−.12; 95% CI: [−.19, −.05]) each day for 7 days, while smoking refusal self-efficacy immediately decreased (−.42; 95% CI: [−.75, −.10]) and then steadily increased (.09; 95% CI: [.02, .16]) each day for 7 days. Daily changes occurring after 7 days were not statistically significant, suggesting that smoking intentions and refusal self-efficacy had stabilized and were no longer affected by pro-smoking media exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Exposures to pro-smoking media may have strong implications for emerging young adults smoking risk as the impact of an individual exposure appears to persist for at least a week.

Key Findings

  • After exposure to a single pro-smoking media message, smoking intentions immediately increased by an average of 22 percent.
  • Although smoking intentions decreased with each passing day, they remained elevated for a full seven days.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.