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Implementation and Evaluation of a Social Marketing Campaign to Deter Hookah Smoking on a College Campus

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Objective: For the past 2 decades, smoking from a hookah or waterpipe has been an evolving negative health behavior in the United States among college students, in part, because students have misconceptions about the potential risks involved with this practice. Methods: For this study, we used formative research to inform a college campus-based social marketing campaign to deter hookah smoking. This paper reports on the development and implementation of the social marketing campaign, with a key focus on the evaluation of behavior change using stages of change. Results: Overall, 828 of 1500 randomly selected students who were contacted responded to a survey following implementation of the campaign. The primary hookah message was recalled by 75% of students and key words describing it were ones included in message intent. The campaign also elicited students to change their social behaviors so as not to include hookah smoking or peers who smoked a hookah. Conclusions: Social marketing showed promise in getting some college students to reduce their exposure to hookah smoking. Messages became more relatable to the target audience through pretesting and formative research. Social marketing campaigns can influence college students to reduce personal use and deter exposure to hookah smoking.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Sciences and Human Performance, University of Tampa, Tampa, FL, United States 2: Olive Branch Research, LLC, Tampa, FL, United States 3: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States 4: School of Human Sciences, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL, United States and Honorary Fellow

Publication date: July 1, 2022

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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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