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Open Access Research article

The relation between media promotions and service volume for a statewide tobacco quitline and a web-based cessation program

Barbara A Schillo1*, Andrea Mowery1, Lija O Greenseid2, Michael G Luxenberg2, Andrew Zieffler3, Matthew Christenson2 and Raymond G Boyle1

Author Affiliations

1 ClearWay Minnesota SM, 8011 34th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55425, USA

2 Professional Data Analysts, Inc., 219 Main Street SE, Suite 302, Minneapolis, MN 55414, USA

3 University of Minnesota, 56 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:939  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-939

Published: 16 December 2011

Abstract

Background

This observational study assessed the relation between mass media campaigns and service volume for a statewide tobacco cessation quitline and stand-alone web-based cessation program.

Methods

Multivariate regression analysis was used to identify how weekly calls to a cessation quitline and weekly registrations to a web-based cessation program are related to levels of broadcast media, media campaigns, and media types, controlling for the impact of external and earned media events.

Results

There was a positive relation between weekly broadcast targeted rating points and the number of weekly calls to a cessation quitline and the number of weekly registrations to a web-based cessation program. Additionally, print secondhand smoke ads and online cessation ads were positively related to weekly quitline calls. Television and radio cessation ads and radio smoke-free law ads were positively related to web program registration levels. There was a positive relation between the number of web registrations and the number of calls to the cessation quitline, with increases in registrations to the web in 1 week corresponding to increases in calls to the quitline in the subsequent week. Web program registration levels were more highly influenced by earned media and other external events than were quitline call volumes.

Conclusion

Overall, broadcast advertising had a greater impact on registrations for the web program than calls to the quitline. Furthermore, registrations for the web program influenced calls to the quitline. These two findings suggest the evolving roles of web-based cessation programs and Internet-use practices should be considered when creating cessation programs and media campaigns to promote them. Additionally, because different types of media and campaigns were positively associated with calls to the quitline and web registrations, developing mass media campaigns that offer a variety of messages and communicate through different types of media to motivate tobacco users to seek services appears important to reach tobacco users. Further research is needed to better understand the complexities and opportunities involved in simultaneous promotion of quitline and web-based cessation services.