Effects of Moral Frames Within Vaping Prevention Messages on Current smokers' Support for Electronic Cigarette Regulations

Fan (Ellie) Yang,Sijia Yang


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Given the rise of communication campaigns to prevent and reduce the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems among minors nationwide, it is important to examine whether certain preventive messages will spill over to affect current adult smokers' support for and compliance with vaping regulations. Drawing upon the Moral Foundations Theory, the current study experimentally examined the effects of moral frames on current adult smokers' support for vape-free policies and marketing restrictions. An online sample of current smokers (N = 630) was randomly assigned to a 3 (moral frames in vaping prevention : care, purity, non-moral control) x 2 (priming of anti-smoking messages: yes or no) between-subject survey experiment. Compared with non-moral framed messages, smokers exposed to both care and purity framed messages were more likely to support vape-free policies in public places. Such effects were stronger for smokers with higher pre-treatment endorsement of the purity value, driven less by anger or disgust but more by smokers' updating of both self-oriented and secondhand harm perceptions. Moral frames, especially those appealing to care and purity moral values, are thus promising messaging strategies for vaping prevention communication campaigns in terms of increasing current smokers' support for vape-free policies. The results also help improve our understanding of the moral roots of health policy opinions and the potential of deploying moral framing to improve message design for health campaigns.
vaping prevention messages,current smokers,moral frames
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