Studies have suggested an interactive relationship between argument strength and other message features (e.g., message sensation value; Kang, Cappella, & Fishbein, 2006) or audience nevertheless characteristics (e.g., risk of marijuana use; Kang, Cappella, & Fishbein, in press) on younger audiences�� evaluations of message effectiveness in discouraging drug use. In the present study, we crossed argument strength with smoking cues to evaluate the contingent effects of smoking cues on advertisement reactions depending on the advertisement argument strength. Cue-elicited smoking urge A smoking cue is defined here as a visual cue that presents at least one of the following: (a) smoking-related materials (i.e., cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, lighter, and the like), (b) holding and handling of a cigarette without smoking it, and (c) actual smoking of a cigarette.
These cues have been used in prior cue-reactivity studies and elicited smoking urges in adult smokers (e.g., Hutchison, Niaura, & Swift, 1999; Tiffany, Carter, & Singleton, 2000; Waters et al., 2004). Cue-reactivity studies often assess smoking urges using both psychophysiological and self-reported measures (Niaura et al., 1988). Both types of measures have been linked to relapse for at least some smokers (Rohsenow, Niaura, Childress, Abrams, & Monti, 1990; Shiffman, 1986). The present study assessed both psychophysiological responses (heart rate and skin conductance) and self-reported smoking urges. Whereas psychophysiological responses provide the biological roots of smoking urges, self-reported measures show that the smokers actually report experiencing smoking urges.
Based on previous evidence on cue-elicited smoking urges, we posed the first hypothesis: that smoking cues in the antismoking advertisements increase self-reported smoking urges. Antismoking advertisements seek to create more negative attitudes toward smoking and more favorable intentions toward quitting. The antismoking arguments of the advertisements might counteract the potential negative effects of smoking cues when they are present (i.e., eliciting smoking urge and subsequent smoking behavior). However, this assumption has not been tested explicitly. Persuasion studies generally Anacetrapib found stronger arguments to be more effective than weaker ones, at least for able and motivated audiences (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). In the context of antismoking advertisements, stronger antismoking arguments might suppress smoking urges in the presence of smoking cues more than weaker arguments do. However, smoking urges might be difficult to control in the face of smoking cues regardless of the strength of antismoking arguments.