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Open Access Perceived Argument Strength and Youth Response to Cigarette Risk Messages

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Objectives: In this study, we investigate the association between youth receptivity to brief, evidence-based statements about the harms of cigarette smoking and their post-exposure risk perceptions and smoking susceptibility. Methods: At-risk youth (N = 1503) who were either experimenting with cigarette smoking or were nonsmokers susceptible to initiation evaluated 9 cigarette-related evidence-based statements randomly selected from a larger library (K = 86). Mean ratings of perceived argument strength (PAS) were obtained for each statement for experimenters and susceptible nonsmokers separately. An aggregate PAS score was constructed for each participant by summing across the statements they had viewed based on pertinent group mean ratings (as opposed to personal ratings). The aggregate score was used to predict post-exposure risk perceptions and smoking susceptibility while controlling for potential confounders. Results: Aggregate PAS was positively associated with risk perceptions among experimenters and negatively associated with smoking susceptibility among nonsmokers. The association between aggregate PAS and risk perceptions was not statistically significant among nonsmokers. Conclusions: Exposure to brief, evidence-based cigarette risk statements high in PAS has the potential to increase youth risk perceptions and lower smoking susceptibility. Employment of such brief messages in appropriate intervention contexts is warranted.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 2019

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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