Background: Smoking cessation campaigns aim to decrease the prevalence of smoking in the community. However, smoking cessation campaigns can be expensive to develop and implement, therefore is it essential that campaigns have high impact and broad reach to ensure the most efficient use of resources.

Method: A systematic review was conducted in October 2020 to assess the efficacy of positively framed and negatively framed messages used in televised smoking cessation advertisements. The search was restricted to quantitative primary research published between 2010-2020, yielding 4640 results. Study selection was performed using the PRISMA method. Population was inclusive of all ages and smoking status. A total of 15 articles met the criteria for review.

Results: Negative messages were found to increase the likelihood of a smoker intending to quit, attempting to quit, successfully quitting, or calling a quitline, while some studies found that positive messages increased confidence to quit and calls to quitline. Combination of negative and positive messages were found to complement one another and were more successful at influencing quit behaviour than using either message type alone. However, findings were not consistent across all studies.

Conclusion: The results of this review may be used to inform the development of future smoking cessation advertisements to ensure content is relevant, effective, and cost-efficient. Further exploration of the efficacy of positive and negative messages on target populations would be valuable to advise the design of cessation campaigns.

Keywords: Cessation, Negative messaging, Positive messaging, Smoking, Television advertisement


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