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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Optimising tobacco control public communication campaigns

Major published reviews over the past decade conclude that tobacco control public communication campaigns can be effective for reducing adult and youth tobacco use.  Evidence is also accumulating of the beneficial effects of tobacco control media campaigns on prompting discussions, changing social norms and increasing policy support among people who smoke and their social network members, with these outcomes helping to motivate and sustain quitting and reduce smoking uptake. This program of research is addressing how to optimise the effectiveness of tobacco control campaigns in a rapidly changing media environment, especially in communities with high smoking prevalence.  The research program includes examination of the relative reach, impact and optimum mix of the wide variety of integrated, digital and social media message delivery methods, including studies of length of advertisement and whether online ads can be ‘skipped’.  The research program is also examining the relative effectiveness of messages that aim to build capacity to quit and optimum methods for combining motivational and capacity-building messages, especially for high prevalence groups who face additional barriers to staying quit. The research is investigating the effectiveness of motivational health effects messages, messages highlighting tobacco industry product marketing practices, messages about the damaging environmental aspects of tobacco production and use, and messages that promote newer tobacco control policies. Finally, the research program is addressing the communication needs of people who smoke, tailored according to whether they do and do not also use e-cigarettes.

CBRC staff

Prof Sarah Durkin, Dr Emily Brennan, Dr Tamara Tabbahk, Dr Ashleigh Haynes, Tegan Nuss, Claudia Gascoyne


Quit Victoria Communications staff, Cancer Council Australia colleagues


Cancer Council Victoria, NHMRC Partnership grant #1016419, Quit Victoria (funded by VicHealth and the Victorian Department of Health), Cancer Council Australia, Department of Health and Aged Care


2018 - present