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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 50–53 | Cite as

A Low-cost, Practical Method for Increasing Smokers’ Interest in Smoking Cessation Programs

  • Paul W. McDonald
Article

Abstract

Background

Low participation rates reduce the public health impact of smoking cessation programs. Two barriers for improving participation are the cost of media campaigns and the proportion of smokers motivated to quit smoking. The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of using classified newspaper ads and messages aimed at each stage of change to enhance participation in smoking cessation programs.

Methods

Three classified ads were run concurrently in a local daily newspaper for five consecutive days. The ads were designed to engage smokers in each of Prochaska’s five stages of change. Each ad invited smokers or former smokers to call the local health department to participate in a paid focus group to design a new health department program.

Results

Calls were received from 181 eligible smokers, including 124 who provided data for the study. Thirty-seven, 34, and 29 percent of smoking respondents were in precontemplation, contemplation and preparation respectively. Half of ex-smokers were in the action stage. Ads cost $174 (Cdn), thus the cost per recruit was less than a dollar.

Conclusion

Classified ads can recruit smokers from all stages of change. Compared to traditional mass media, classified ads may also be a highly cost-efficient promotional strategy. Results provide justification for further research.

Résumé

Contexte

De faibles taux de participation réduisent l’effet des programmes de renoncement au tabac sur la santé publique. Deux obstacles à l’amélioration de la participation sont le coût des campagnes de publicité dans les médias et la proportion des fumeurs motivés à cesser de fumer. Nous avons cherché à déterminer la possibilité de recourir aux annonces classées dans les journaux et à des messages axés sur chaque étape du changement pour rehausser la participation aux programmes de renoncement au tabac.

Méthode

Trois annonces classées ont paru simultanément dans un quotidien local pendant cinq jours d’affilée. Elles visaient à recruter des fumeurs aux cinq étapes du changement énoncées dans le modèle de Prochaska. Chaque annonce invitait des fumeurs ou d’anciens fumeurs à appeler leur service de santé local pour participer à un groupe de discussion rémunéré et aider à concevoir un nouveau programme pour le service de santé.

Résultats

On a reçu des appels de 181 fumeurs admissibles, dont 124 ont fourni des données pour l’étude. Respectivement 37%, 34% et 29% des répondants fumeurs en étaient à l’étape de la pré-réflexion, de la réflexion et de la préparation. La moitié des anciens fumeurs en étaient à l’étape de l’action. Les annonces ont coûté 174 $CAN, soit moins de 1 $ par recrue. p ]Conclusion: Les annonces classées permettent de recruter des fumeurs à toutes les étapes du changement. Comparées aux médias de masse traditionnels, elles peuvent s’avérer une stratégie promotionnelle très rentable. Les résultats obtenus justifient que l’on pousse la recherche dans cette direction.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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