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UNC TCORS: Enhancing Source Credibility in Tobacco Regulatory Communications

Principal Investigator: Adam Goldstein

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - TCORS Grant

ID number: 1P50CA180907-01

Award Date: 9/19/2013

Institution: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


New communications about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting can help improve the public health, but little research exists about how to frame and deliver these messages most effectively. This project will test FDA messages regarding its regulatory authority over tobacco products in order to assess how to improve message credibility in targeted populations.  Specific aims are: (1) to characterize perceptions of the FDA in terms of its regulatory authority, credibility, and tobacco control communication campaigns among adolescents (aged 13-17), young adults (aged 18-25) and adults (aged 26-65), and among vulnerable populations (African American and gay, lesbian, and bisexual), in seven focus groups (7-10 participants each) and phone surveys of 3800 individuals; (2) to use FDA messages to experimentally examine three determinants of source credibility (i.e., source sponsor, source depiction and source engagement) to create optimally-framed messages and test them among current smokers (participating in ten focus groups and 300 interviews); and (3) to conduct a randomized controlled trial of 352 young adult and adult smokers to test the hypothesis that optimally-framed (i.e., high source credibility) FDA cigarette constituent messages will increase intentions to quit more than suboptimally-framed (i.e., no source attached) cigarette constituent messages. This research will provide information regarding the effectiveness and credibility of FDA communication campaigns that convey the health risks of cigarette use.


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