Table 2

Selected quotes representing youths’ reactions to antismoking campaigns/messages

Expressions of rebellion towards the messages/campaignsR1-“I think if anybody don't want to see what they want to see or don't want to hear what they want to hear, I think—you know these things—these images… will just go past you, go over your head and so I think that is where I am at, at the moment.” [Male, 23]
R2-“There was this campaign which saying that “One puff and you're hooked” right? There was this slogan…So I-I didn't believe it was true so I tried, I decided to try it out then.” [Male, 25]
Criticism of past and current messages/campaigns
a) Fear appeals
F1-“Scare tactics are just old news. I mean we smoke, we know, we are all educated people. We know the risk of it.” [Female, 22]
F2-“I think the reason why we kind of ignore about these messages is because we have the thought that it won't strike us at this age. And it only strikes us when we grow older and you know, probably what would happen? You don't really care.” [Female, 22]
F3-“All this warning on the cigarette box, it's just making, it's just, it's not effective. Because it's a bit too exaggerated.” [Female, 25]
b) Distracting approachesD1-“Even, even during the ‘Too Tuff To Puff’ [a sports-themed anti-smoking programme aimed at Primary and Secondary School students that promotes physical activity as a healthier alternative to smoking] also, there was a, I mean I entered football, I-I went to a lot of street soccer competitions right, it's an anti-smoking competition and during the break everybody smokes. It doesn't really send out the message”. [Male, 25]
Commendation of particular messages/campaigns and their components
a) Positive tone
C1-“Seems positive because I think it's… it's actually recordings of people, taking photos and talking about how they quit, leaving messages, you know like they quit for their loved ones and things like that. I think that the entire thing has a very positive effect but I don't think it works.” [Female, 25]
b) Low fear visual imagesC2-“Sometime back I think in Orchard Road [a shopping district that is a popular hangout spot for youths] I saw on-on the road there was actually a box which says “If you smoke, this much amount of tar will be in your lungs”. I thought that one was really good. I think that was the only one real like prevention ad which really puts things into perspective”[Male, 27]
c) Temporal relevanceC3-“When it came out, I was like, Okay, cool. Yeah, but I really don't like it when they use like baby images. It's like a premonition, you know. Like every time I buy a cigarette pack right then there's a baby on it. I'm like “ssss” [makes a wincing sound]. Is my baby going to look like that?[Female, 22]
d) Low-controlling languageC4-“I think that was most impactful because the smoker themselves know the bad points of it and they said to someone else but they didn't say it to themselves.”[Female, 22]
C5-“The shock factor, the wow factor was there, man!…Very simple, simple idea, very simple concept. I think simple filming and… because it puts us in the smokers’ position.”[Male, 25]
e) Genuine spokespersonC6-“She has to cover the hole in order for her to speak and stuff. Every single day she has to do that routine, she has to clean the hole, she has to dress it up so she don't look like so… She's freaky la because who would want to look at people who has a hole in their throat right?…And then she's bald and she said “I'm waiting for my time to go to heaven”. It's quite sad lah. I mean, that one is heartfelt. She showed an old photo of her—she looks like supermodel. She's really pretty. It makes me woah, I don't want to be like that, you know?” [Female, 20]
Assertions that messages/campaigns do not lead to behaviour changeB1-“It's not something that I can say, ‘Hey, I'm not gonna smoke for today,’ just ’cause the poster's there” [Female, 24]
B2-“Because the campaigns like if it's for quitting lah, I mean I don't see much sincerity in it. If you're charging us so much, if you're increasing the prices year on year on year, then why don't you use the prices—the money that you have—to make someone stand there behind, in front of the poster and give out Nicorette patches, because they are expensive.”[Female, 24]