Developing health communication messaging for a social marketing campaign to reduce tobacco use in pregnancy among Alaska native women

Christi Ann Patten, Harry Lando, Kenneth Resnicow, Paul A. Decker, Christina M. Smith, Marcelo M. Hanza, Linda Burhansstipanov, Matthew Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Background: Despite the high prevalence of tobacco use during pregnancy among Alaska Native and American Indian (AI/AN) women, few efforts have focused on developing tobacco cessation interventions for this group. This paper describes development of messaging for a social media campaign targeting the entire community to reduce tobacco use in pregnancy (cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use including a homemade product known as Iqmik) among AN women, as part of a multi-component intervention. Method: The study (clinical trial registration #NCT02083081) used mixed methods with two rounds of assessments to develop and refine culturally relevant message appeals. Round 1 used qualitative focus groups and individual interviews (N = 60), and Round 2 used quantitative survey interviews (N = 52). Each round purposively sampled adult AN pregnant women, family/friends, and Elders in Western Alaska, and included tobacco users and non-users. Round 1 also assessed reasons for tobacco use in pregnancy. Results: Qualitative findings generally converged with quantitative results to indicate that many participants preferred factual, loss-framed, visual concepts on how maternal tobacco use harms the fetus, newborn, and child; in contrast to spiritual or emotional appeals, or gain-framed messaging. Stress was indicated as a major reason for tobacco use in pregnancy and strategies to manage stress along with other health pregnancy targets (e.g. prenatal care) were suggested. Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests campaign messages targeting the entire community to reduce tobacco use in pregnancy among rural AN women should include factual messaging for being tobacco-free as well as focus on reducing stress and other healthy pregnancy targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Communication in Healthcare
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 11 2018



  • Alaska natives
  • health communication
  • intervention
  • messaging
  • pregnancy
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Health Information Management

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