Effective Message Elements for Disclosures About Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke

Dannielle E. Kelley, Marcella H. Boynton, Seth M. Noar, Jennifer C. Morgan, Jennifer R. Mendel, Kurt M. Ribisl, Irina Stepanov, Leena A. Nylander-French, Noel T. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cigarette smoke contains at least 93 chemicals or "constituents" that the Food and Drug Administration has identified as harmful and potentially harmful constituents to human health. Our study sought to identify which constituent disclosure message elements are most effective in discouraging people from smoking. Methods: Three hundred eighty eight current smokers aged 18 and older completed an online survey in February 2015. We randomized participants to respond to one of two sets of 13 toxic products that contain cigarette constituents and 25 health effects associated with cigarette constituents. Results: Products that elicited the most discouragement were those with lower chances of exposure (e.g., explosives), followed by products with possible exposure (e.g., rat poison), and products with a high likelihood of exposure (e.g., floor cleaner). Awareness of toxic products that constituents are found in (p < .001) and low exposure products (p < .001) were associated with higher discouragement. Health effects that people had heard are caused by cigarette smoke constituents elicited higher discouragement from smoking cigarettes (p < .001). Cancer was associated with higher discouragement relative to respiratory, cardiovascular, and reproductive health effects (all p < .001). Conclusions: Cigarette smoke constituent messages may be more effective at discouraging smoking if they include information about carcinogenic health effects (e.g., mouth cancer and lung tumors) and low exposure toxic products (e.g., explosives and radioactive material) as message elements. Implications: Our study identified health effects and toxic products, especially cancers and rarely encountered toxic products, that may discourage smoking when included in disclosure messages. By constructing messages that communicate the harms associated with tobacco use by contextualizing those harms in terms of specific constituents, tobacco education messaging efforts may be increasingly successful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1054
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 14 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effective Message Elements for Disclosures About Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this