Secondhand Smoke Risk Communication: Effects on Parent Smokers’ Perceptions and Intentions

Jennah M. Sontag, Cristine D. Delnevo, Thomas Hegyi, Barbara M. Ostfeld, Olivia A. Wackowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined effective strategies to communicate with parent smokers about the risks of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure to children. An online, between-subjects experimental survey was administered via TurkPrime Panels to recruit participants (N = 623) comprising adult smokers living with children (aged 0–15). Participants were assigned to messages conditions that differed by message recommendation (cessation; cessation+exposure reduction) and format (video; text-only) or to a no-message control. Participants in a message condition viewed a message, and all participants responded to questions about their perceptions and intentions. Parent smokers who viewed either message recommendation reported greater harm perceptions (p <.001), self-efficacy (p <.001), and help-seeking intentions (p <.05) than the no-message control group. Cessation+exposure reduction recommendations elicited greater quit intentions than the no-message control (p <.05). Compared to text-only, videos elicited greater reduce-exposure intentions (p <.05) and interpersonal communication intentions (p <.05). Only videos elicited greater quit intentions (p <.01) and help-seeking intentions (p <.01) than the no-message control. Communication about this topic can be optimized by recommending both cessation and exposure-reduction behaviors (versus cessation only), and by using videos (versus traditional print/text-based materials).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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