Online Program

Development of a targeted health communication intervention to promote smoking cessation among unionized construction workers

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brad Evanoff, MD, MPH, Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Jaime Strickland, M.A., Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Nina Smock, Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Matthew W. Kreuter, PhD, MPH, Health Communication Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, St. Louis, MO
Background: Construction workers have higher smoking rates than other workers. Employer-based interventions are not feasible in this mobile workforce, though union-based initiatives may be effective. This study tested a health communication intervention to change smoking behaviors among union carpenters and floor layers. Methods: 1638 union members participated in a health behavior survey; self-identified current smokers were invited to participate in a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of smoking cessation messages. Using audience segmentation, we developed smoking cessation images and messages targeted at four sub-groups based on age (over/under 30 years old) and parental status (children/no children). All randomized subjects received a letter informing them about the union-sponsored smoking cessation program. Intervention group subjects also received monthly targeted messages via postcards and text messages for six months. Follow-up surveys are now being collected to assess changes in smoking behaviors and attitudes. Results: 34% of respondents were current smokers. Among current smokers, 64% reported seriously considering quitting in the next 6 months; only 34% were aware of their union's smoking cessation benefit. We randomized 442 benefit-eligible members into this ongoing intervention study; follow-up surveys will be analyzed in July 2013 when the trial concludes. Discussion: We expect that subjects in the intervention group will exhibit greater change in readiness to quit, and be more likely to take action to quit or reduce smoking. If successful, this low cost intervention can be applied to other trade union health benefit plans.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe audience segmentation as a method of targeted health communication Discuss existing disparities in smoking behaviors among construction workers compared to other workers Explain the role of union based health and welfare plans in promoting workers’ health

Keyword(s): Smoking Cessation, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for this study.
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.