Tunu Nkunya, *Thinavan a/l Periyayya & Santhidran a/l Sinappan
Graphic health warning on cigarette packages is the latest initiative to encourage cessation and reduce smoking uptake, nevertheless, it is not clear on how effective this approach can inform and change smoking behavior. The role of recipient factors influencing the processing of anti-smoking messages on cigarette packs is also unclear. This paper attempts to investigate these gaps by studying how cigarette pack graphical health warning messages and positive gain-framed statements are processed, and its impact on smoker’s attitude using the information-processing theory of elaboration likelihood. Two models were developed for this experimental study. The first model focused on elaboration levels as determinants of attitude towards smoking. A total of 60 private college students were selected for this study. A 2×2 factorial experimental design was used to test the influence of elaboration (IV) on attitude towards smoking (DV). The second model tested the effect of four recipient factors on elaboration likelihood, the factors are: general health consciousness, need for cognition, personal relevance and prior knowledge. A two-way between subjects ANOVA was used to test the first model which had three null hypotheses. The two-way between subjects ANOVA test showed that recipients who scored high on elaboration had a stronger attitude against smoking due to the additional gain-framed arguments presented on the cigarette pack, while those who scored low on the elaboration had stronger attitudes against smoking based on the gruesome graphic health warning. Pearson Correlation Coefficient test was used for the second model and the outcome showed that only one factor that is personal relevance was strongly correlated with elaboration, the other factors were weakly correlated.
Keywords: Health Communication, elaboration, fear communication, gain-framed statements