Which types of televised anti-tobacco campaigns prompt more quitline calls from disadvantaged groups?

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To examine the efficacy of different types of mass media ads in driving lower socio-economic smokers (SES) to utilize quitlines. This study collected all 33 719 calls to the Victorian quitline in Australia over a 2-year period. Negative binomial regressions examined the relationship between weekly levels of exposure to different types of anti-smoking ads and quitline calls, after adjusting for covariates. Interaction terms were added to determine whether relationships differed by SES. In total, smokers were exposed 88.39 times to anti-smoking ads over the 2-year period, as estimated by target audience ratings points. Higher emotion narrative ad exposure had the strongest association with quitline calls, increasing call rates by 13% for every additional ad exposure per week (per 100 points, rate ratio = 1.132, P = 0.001). Substantially, greater increases in calls to quitline from lower SES groups were observed when higher emotion narrative ads were on air compared with when other ad types were on air, and this advantage was not as strong among higher SES groups. Airing higher emotion narrative anti-smoking ads may contribute to reducing, but not eliminating, socio-economic disparities in calls to the quitline through maximizing the responses of the lower SES smokers.

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