The authors surveyed 1,998 Missourians to evaluate (a) awareness and (b) understanding of messages about the impact of tobacco use in Missouri, (c) belief in the accuracy of the messages, and (d) intention to vote for a tobacco tax increase on the basis of the messages. Using structural equation modeling, the relationships among these four constructs were evaluated. A comparison of smokers and nonsmokers indicated that these two groups were influenced by the messages in different ways, χ 2(8) = 20.89, p <.05, and should be modeled separately. The nonsmokers' model demonstrated significant (p <.05) relationships between understanding the messages and belief in message accuracy (b =.41; R 2 =.17) and between belief in message accuracy and intention to vote in favor of the tobacco tax (b =.54; R 2 =.29). In the smokers' model, understanding the messages was not a statistically significant predictor of belief in message accuracy. However, belief in message accuracy had a significant and positive relationship with intention to vote in favor of the tax (b =.45; R 2 =.21). These findings indicate that media campaigns about tobacco use should approach smokers and nonsmokers differently.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
In 2004, the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) funded a 9-year initiative aimed at reducing tobacco use in Missouri. During the second year of the MFH Initiative, the Missouri chapters of the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and the Missouri health care community received funding from MFH and the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City to develop and implement Show Me Health: Clearing the Air About Tobacco. With a focus on the social and economic impacts of tobacco use in Missouri, the goals of Show Me Health (SMH) were to (a) increase awareness about the need for better access to health care and (b) to increase awareness of the impact of tobacco use in the state. One of the SMH strategies was the development and implementation of an educational campaign about the impact of tobacco use in Missouri. Although the campaign did not directly advocate for a tobacco tax increase, increased awareness of tobacco’s toll in Missouri was expected to bolster support for the ballot initiative.
- health messages
- structural equation modelling
- tobacco policy