Identifying effective community-targeted messages to build support for tobacco tax measures: formative research to test communication messages in Vietnam
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Vital Strategies, Sydney, Australia
Vital Strategies, Delhi, India
Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund, Hanoi, Vietnam
Vital Strategies, Hanoi, Vietnam
Vital Strategies, New York, United States
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Tom Carroll   

Vital Strategies, 21 Hamilton Street, Coogee, Sydney, 2034 NSW, Australia
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A223
The Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in Vietnam in 2015 showed 45.3 percent of men and 1.1 percent of women, currently smoke tobacco. Price for buying cigarettes in Vietnam is very low, yet substantial evidence indicates that increasing taxes on cigarettes is an effective means of reducing uptake of smoking and prompting quitting.

A study was undertaken in February 2018 by Vital Strategies in partnership with the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund to identify effective public education messages about benefits of increasing tobacco taxes and cigarette prices. Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the study was designed to guide development of new videos for television broadcast and dissemination through social media and digital channels to build support for increasing tobacco taxes.

Six messages were developed to reflect different reasons why people may support increased tax measures. Twelve focus groups of 18-25 and 26-35 year-old smokers and non-smokers were conducted using a quantitative/qualitative methodology of individual ratings and group discussions to explore responses to these messages. Ratings and group discussions were analyzed to understand which messages were perceived as most personally relevant and effective in generating support for increasing tobacco taxes.

The most highly rated messages among non-smoker and smoker participants were those related to harms of second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure, including a testimonial story of a non-smoker with lung cancer, and to reducing the health burden associated with smoking and harm to smokers and their families. A message about protecting youth from starting to smoke was also rated reasonably high by smokers but to a lesser extent than health burden and SHS harm.

Messages about harms from SHS exposure and about burden of health harms, particularly emphasizing personal stories and impact on families, have potential to build support amongst smokers and non-smokers for increasing taxes to reduce tobacco smoking and SHS exposure.

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