Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 352–359 | Cite as

Communicating about cigarette smoke constituents: an experimental comparison of two messaging strategies

  • Sabeeh A. Baig
  • M. Justin Byron
  • Marcella H. Boynton
  • Noel T. Brewer
  • Kurt M. RibislEmail author


Federal law now requires FDA to disseminate information on chemicals in cigarette smoke, but it is unclear how best to do so. In a 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment, participants received a message about chemicals in cigarette smoke (e.g., “Cigarette smoke has benzene.”) along with an additional randomly assigned messaging strategy: a “found-in” (e.g., “This is found in gasoline.”), a health effect (e.g., “This causes heart disease.”), both, or neither. Participants were U.S. probability phone samples of 5000 adults and 1123 adolescents, and an online convenience sample of 4130 adults. Adding a health effect elicited greater discouragement from wanting to smoke cigarettes (all p < .05) as did adding a found-in (all p < .05). However, including both messaging strategies added little or nothing above including just one. These findings can help the FDA and other agencies develop effective and parsimonious messages about cigarette smoke constituents.


Tobacco control Cigarette smoke constituents Health communication Common products Health effects 



Research reported in this publication was supported by grant number P50CA180907 from the National Cancer Institute and FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Sabeeh A. Baig, M. Justin Byron, Marcella H. Boynton, Noel T. Brewer, and Kurt M. Ribisl declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabeeh A. Baig
    • 1
  • M. Justin Byron
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marcella H. Boynton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Noel T. Brewer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kurt M. Ribisl
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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