208873 Brief educational intervention to decrease misinformation about tobacco and nicotine

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Janice L. Hastrup, PhD, MS , Dept. of Psychology, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Amherst, NY
Laura M. Anderson, PhD , Psychology Dept., East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Mauricio Carvallo, PhD , Psychology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Jessica J. Englert, PhD, MA , Dept. of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School (DHMC), Lebanon, NH
K. Michael Cummings, PhD MPH , Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
Brief educational segments on health are commonly used in newscasts. Five 3-minute segments produced by experts in medicine, tobacco, public health, and marketing were shown in the Buffalo area; a 15-minute version was developed for evaluation purposes and a Spanish language version was created. The series, "Breathing Room," focused on negative effects of secondhand smoke, especially on children; it was supplemented with a PowerPoint presentation correcting common misinformation about tobacco and nicotine products (e.g., that filtered and light cigarettes are safer; that nicotine causes cancer).


Evaluate the use of the "Breathing Room" video with supplementary information about tobacco and nicotine in the general population.


Ninety families containing a 15- to 17-year-old adolescent and one to three adult household members attended a 75-minute session either at the University at Buffalo or in their homes. Families were randomly assigned to either the secondhand smoke video and PowerPoint presentation on nicotine and tobacco misinformation video, or a control, unrelated presentation on family health history.


Pretests showed substantial misinformation about secondhand smoke, as well as about tobacco and nicotine products. For example, two-thirds of all age groups believed that nicotine causes cancer; such beliefs could result in reluctance to try smoking cessation aids that contain nicotine which have been shown to double the quit rate. The results of the intervention showed significant improvements in accuracy of information about secondhand smoke, tobacco, and nicotine in the group exposed to the intervention, and little change in the unexposed group.

Learning Objectives:
1. List common misconceptions about tobacco and nicotine. 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of a brief video/computer presentation of educational material to improve knowledge of secondhand smoke, tobacco products, and nicotine cessation aids.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and an M.S. in epidemiological research. I have done research in health behavior and tobacco control, and have been involved in the analysis of findings and preparation of the manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.