||1R21CA229334-01A1 Interpret this number
||Johns Hopkins University
||Beyond Demographics: Mixed-Methods Research for Effective Communication Tools to Prevent Tobacco Use in Hispanic Adolescents and Young Adults
Health communication campaigns are a critical part of tobacco control policy, but may exacerbate health
disparities if they are not thoughtfully designed. Specifically, communication campaigns tend to benefit more
advantaged populations (e.g., non-Hispanic white, higher SES) while failing to reach or resonate with more
disadvantaged populations. Moreover, these disadvantaged populations are exposed to tobacco marketing at
disproportionately high rates. These communication inequalities can result in disparities in the rates of tobacco
use. To address these health disparities, tobacco prevention campaigns must (1) be based on in-depth
formative evidence in order to reach and resonate with groups most at risk for tobacco use, and (2)
successfully compete with and counteract the effects of pro-tobacco marketing. This requires going beyond
simple demographic targeting (by race, SES, etc.) to produce messages that deeply resonate with the target
population’s social and cultural lives. To accomplish this, the proposed study uses an innovative blend of
methods to understand tobacco use among Hispanic adolescents and young adults. Hispanics have higher
rates of susceptibility to tobacco use, and comprise approximately one quarter of the US youth population,
making them an important group for tobacco control. Moreover, much research on Hispanics fails to examine
the considerable differences in this population by ethnic heritage (e.g., Mexican, Cuban, etc.). The current
project will (Aim 1) Identify unique and cross-cutting psychological, social and cultural influences on tobacco
use among Hispanic youth and young adults at-risk for tobacco use, and (Aim 2) Describe the pro-tobacco
communications environment to which Hispanic youth are exposed. Aim 1 will be accomplished through a mix
of online discussions and in-person focus groups. Online discussions are an innovative technique that allow us
to obtain a diverse sample of Hispanic 15-21 year olds to examine key sub-group differences. In-person focus
groups will be held in four US MSAs with the highest number of Hispanics. The in-person focus groups allow
us to focus more intensely on key themes identified in the online discussions. The focus groups will use
innovative techniques to access thoughts, opinions and motivations that may be difficult for participants to
articulate, and will produce a deep understanding of tobacco use in this population. Aim 2 will conduct a
content analysis of tobacco marketing targeting Hispanics. We will use data from the content analysis to
identify key marketing tactics, and will obtain focus group participants’ perspectives on these tactics.
Ultimately, these findings will be disseminated to stakeholders in collaboration with our partners at Campaign
for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). We will develop an online toolkit that stakeholders can access on-demand,
webinars to provide more focused education, and will work with CTFK to integrate our findings into their
trainings. Ultimately, this project will produce novel, in-depth information to support efforts to communicate
more effectively about tobacco with Hispanic youth and young adults, and to restrict tobacco marketing
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