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Reactions to Smoke-free Policies and Messaging Strategies in Support and Opposition: A Comparison of Southerners and Non-Southerners in the US

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Objectives: We explored differences in support for smoke-free policies among Southerners versus non-Southerners within a quota-based non-probability sample of adults in the United States. Methods: In 2013, a cross-sectional online survey was conducted among 2501 adults assessing tobacco use, reactions to personal and public smoke-free policies, and persuasiveness of various message frames regarding smoke-free bar/restaurant policies. Results: Southerners were no different from non-Southerners in support for most public and private smoke-free policies. The most effective pro-policy messages regarded hospitality, health, and individual rights/responsibilities; the most persuasive anti-policy messages involved individual rights/responsibilities. Compared to non-Southerners, Southerners rated pro-policy messages involving economic impact, religion/morality, and hospitality as more persuasive. Conclusions: Factors other than public opinion accounting for lagging policy adoption must be explored.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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