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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Focus on Children, Job Risk May Help Blue-Collar Smokers to Quit

Quit-smoking messages that focused on smokers’ children and job-related risks were most appealing to construction trade workers in a recent study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Construction trade workers are more likely to smoke and have less success in quitting when compared to white-collar workers. Researchers from the Brown School’s Health Communication Research Laboratory (HCRL) and the Washington University School of Medicine joined to find out what kinds of anti-smoking messages might be effective at getting blue-collar smokers to call a quit line for help.

Researchers explored the culture, health attitudes, and smoking behaviors of unionized carpenters in St. Louis, then used focus groups and surveys to develop and test messages. Twelve message concepts were tested with carpenters divided by age group (over/under 30) and parental status (children/no children).

Messages that focused on children, such as “Your kids do what you do,” were most popular across all groups.  Messages that emphasized the added risk that carpenter-smokers face due to the dust they inhale on the job, such as “Double Trouble,” were also cited as having a positive impact.

“This study is an important step toward integrating the culture of a high-risk group into targeted messages to increase participation in smoking cessation activities,” wrote Dr. Bradley A. Evanoff, of the Occupational Health and Safety Research Team at the School of Medicine, who led the study.

“Favorable audience ratings do not always mean messages will be more effective,” but they often point us in the right direction,” said Dr. Matthew W. Kreuter, associate dean for Public Health at the Brown School and Senior Scientist at the HCRL.

The study was published September 16 in Health Education Research.

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