Qualitative study of Singaporean youths’ perception of antismoking campaigns: What works and what does not

Shazana Shahwan, Restria Fauziana, Pratika Satghare, Janhavi Vaingankar, Louisa Picco, Siow Ann Chong, Mythily Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background Youths are more likely to rebel against messages perceived to inhibit their independence. In order for antismoking campaigns to be effective with this population, adopting evidence-based strategies is crucial. In this study, we examined youths’ reaction to past and ongoing antismoking campaigns, and delineate effective and ineffective components of campaigns as identified by them. Methods 12 focus group discussions were conducted with 91 youth smokers aged 15–29 years. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. A codebook was derived through an iterative process. The data were coded systematically by three coders, using Nvivo V.10. Results Fear appeals that had no immediate relevance to youths, and campaigns involving humour or sports/dance activities that distracted youths from the antismoking messages, were deemed ineffective. In contrast, elements identified to be efficacious were: positive tone, low-fear visual images, ‘low-controlling language’ and a genuine spokesperson. Youth tended to favour campaigns circulating on social media platforms. Importantly, youths voiced a lack of tangible support for their efforts to quit smoking. Conclusions Participants expressed a preference towards antismoking messages that were less authoritative, and perceived a distinct lack of support for their intentions to quit smoking. There is room for incorporating suggestions by participants in future antismoking campaigns. Future research is needed to identify barriers to accessing available support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e101-e106
Number of pages6
JournalTobacco Control
Issue numbere2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cessation
  • Health Services
  • Prevention

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