Newswise — RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Antismoking advertising effectively promotes attempts to quit smoking among vulnerable population groups, including minorities and people with lower education and income, according to a new study by researcher at RTI International.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, used data from the New York Adult Tobacco Survey, which surveyed more than 9,000 New York adult smokers, to better understand whether antismoking TV ads were effective with reaching various population groups.

"Despite recent successes in reducing tobacco use, disparities remain by race, ethnicity, education, income and mental health status," said James Nonnemaker, Ph.D., a research economist at RTI and the study's lead author.

The results showed that general population antismoking advertising are effective within many vulnerable populations, and as with the general population, ads with strong graphic imagery and negative emotion are the most effective forms of smoking cessation campaigns.

"These findings suggest that, although smoking cessation campaigns are effective in general, and in a number of populations with high smoking rates, they may not be effective among individuals with poor mental health," Nonnemaker said. "This is an important finding because national data indicate that smoking rates among individuals with mental illness are double or triple the rate of those with no history of mental illness. Additional research is needed to determine how best to encourage smoking cessation among smokers with poor mental health."