Policies that increase the price of tobacco through tobacco taxes have the potential to decrease tobacco use and increase tobacco quit rates among tobacco users. Southeastern U.S. states have typically lagged in adopting tobacco control policies. In addition to having a high proportion of low-income populations, these states have among the highest tobacco use rates and lowest tax rates.
Because public opinion has the ability to influence policymakers’ willingness to support policies, the purpose of this study was to examine the reactions to messaging around tobacco taxes among U.S. residents. The study compared the attitudes/knowledge around tobacco taxes for those living in Southeastern states to those not living in southeastern states. Additionally, participants were asked about their opinion on the persuasiveness around each of the messages presented to them.
Messages that focus on youth tobacco use, prevention, individual rights and responsibilities, and hospitality may be the most effective approach for promoting tax policies in southeastern states.