Insights from behavioral economics suggests that the effectiveness of health messages depends on how a message is framed. Parent preferences for smoking cessation messaging has not been studied in pediatrics, warranting further exploration to maximize benefit. We sought to assess parents’ perceptions regarding the relative importance of distinct message framings to promote their smoking cessation.
We conducted a cross-sectional discrete choice experiment in which parent smokers rated the relative importance of 26 messages designed to encourage them to begin cessation treatment. Messages varied on who was featured (child, parent, or family), whether the message was gain or loss framed, and what outcome was included (general health, cancer, respiratory illnesses, child becoming a smoker, or financial impact). The participants were 180 parent smokers attending primary care visits with their children at 4 diverse pediatric sites. The main outcome was the importance of smoking cessation messages based on who was featured, gain or loss framing, and the outcome emphasized.
Parent smokers highly prioritized cessation messages emphasizing the impact of quitting smoking on their child versus parent or family. Messages focusing on respiratory illness, cancer, or general health outcomes consistently ranked highest, whereas messages focused on the financial benefits of quitting ranked lowest. Gain versus loss framing did not meaningfully influence rankings.
Parent smokers identified smoking cessation messages that emphasized the impact on their child, with outcomes focused on respiratory health, cancer, or general health, as most important. The clinical impact of these messages should be tested in future research.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.