May 31 marked the 25th anniversary of World No Tobacco Day, but does the day really inspire anyone to think about quitting smoking?
Yes it does, according to a new study led by investigators from the Informatics Program at Children’s Hospital Boston and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For the study, the research team monitored news promoting cessation and Internet search queries indicative of cessation for six years in seven Latin American nations. Cessation news coverage and Internet search queries for cessation peaked on World No Tobacco Day, increasing as much as 83% and 84% compared with a typical day, respectively. Their findings appear in the May/June issue of Journal of Medical Internet Research.
“After 25 years we didn’t know if World No Tobacco Day was having a significant public health impact,” says lead study author John W. Ayers, PhD, Children’s Hospital faculty member and recent graduate of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Frankly, given the proliferation of awareness days, we were surprised to find large spikes pointing to interest in cessation.”
Senior analyst and Bloomberg doctoral candidate Benjamin Althouse notes, “We generally think of New Year’s Day as the peak time when media encourages quitting and smokers want to quit. World No Tobacco Day spikes, however, often outsized New Year’s increases, like a second-chance quitting resolution.”
“People who live in low- and middle-income countries comprise a majority of the deaths from the global tobacco epidemic. Our study provides initial evidence that World No Tobacco Day encourages cessation awareness and cessation interest in these countries,” says Joanna Cohen, PhD, who leads the Bloomberg School’s Institute for Global Tobacco Control. “The majority of smokers do want to quit, and World No Tobacco Day is an effective reminder and inspiration.”
— Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health