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Assessing Perceptions of Health Warnings on Tobacco Products Using a Mixed-Methods Survey

By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Tobacco is a global leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, contributing to an estimated 7 million deaths annually. Multiple interventions have been proposed by the World Health Organization, including health warnings on tobacco products. Continually assessing the impact of these health warnings and updating them as necessary are essential in controlling tobacco use. Online surveys represent an opportunity for researchers to efficiently and cost-effectively collect large volumes of data from a wide range of participant groups. Mixed-methods online surveys allow for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, which may or may not complement each other. This case study details a mixed-methods online survey utilizing the Health Belief Model that was targeted at schoolchildren, to gather their perceptions of anti-tobacco health warnings. This includes established health warnings on cigarette packaging, and investigational warnings on individual cigarette sticks. Key challenges that may be experienced when conducting research activities such as this include ethical restrictions on questions, initial participant recruitment, recruiting a representative sample of the desired population, and describing the research methodology within the context of a journal article. Benefits of this method of research include the robustness of the overall dataset when collected using multiple methodologies and the corroboration of individual and grouped quantitative and qualitative data points. This research found that schoolchildren in Australia perceive health warnings on cigarette packaging as largely ineffective, particularly on current smokers, though cigarette-stick warnings were a potentially effective public health method for reducing tobacco use.

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