eISSN: 2449-8580
ISSN: 1734-3402
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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vol. 18
Original paper

Effectiveness of antismoking campaigns using health shock appeals among male university students in Western Australia

Shahriar Khandaker
Juwel Rana

  1. Faculty Member, Department of Social Relations, East West University, Bangladesh
  2. Adjunct Faculty, Department of Sociology, Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science & Technology University, Bangladesh and member of the ISA Research Committee on Social Transformations and Sociology of Development
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review 2016; 18, 3: 253–261
Online publish date: 2016/09/26
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Background. Smoking causes ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lung cancer killing 15,000 Australians every year. Despite extensive publicity of the harmful health effects of smoking, one in six Australian aged 15 years and over smoked daily representing 2.7 million active smokers.

Objectives. The research aimed to comprehend how active university student smokers respond to different appeals employed in public service antismoking campaigns in Western Australia.

Material and methods. The study examined the Quit Victoria 2006–2008 antismoking campaign using qualitative research method involving four in-depth focus group discussions with a total of twenty-four (N = 24) active male university student smokers in Western Australia between the age group of 18 to 24 years.

Results. Male university students became active smokers because of the perceived image of ‘coolness,’ ‘macho,’ media influence and experimentation. Impact on sports performances predominantly encouraged respondents in attempting to quit smoking. Sixteen students (67%) felt that graphic warning messages on cigarette packs had no effect on them due to desensitizing effects of repeated messages. Twenty-one participants (87.5%) felt that health shock appeal was ineffective in making them quit. Emotional appeals like humor, fear, and health shock were most persuasive in advertising messages which would assist in smoking cessation. Therefore, antismoking campaigns with shock health appeals were ineffective in helping smokers to abdicate smoking. Results suggested employing emotional or combination of rational and emotional appeals in maximizing the effectiveness of antismoking advertisements.

Conclusions. The study broadens the scope of devising effective antismoking campaigns and provide insightful implications for public health promoters as well as individualized care providers.

smoking, cessation attempts, antismoking campaigns, advertising appeals, shock health appeals

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