Website Use and Effects of Online Information About Tobacco Additives Among the Dutch General Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Dominique A. Reinwand*, Rik Crutzen, Anne S. Kienhuis, Reinskje Talhout, Hein de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)

Abstract

Background

As a legal obligation, the Dutch government publishes online information about tobacco additives to make sure that it is publicly available. Little is known about the influence this website ("tabakinfo") has on visitors and how the website is evaluated by them.

Objective

This study assesses how visitors use the website and its effect on their knowledge, risk perception, attitude, and smoking behavior. The study will also assess how the website is evaluated by visitors using a sample of the Dutch general population, including smokers and nonsmokers.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial was conducted, recruiting participants from an online panel. At baseline, participants (N=672) were asked to fill out an online questionnaire about tobacco additives. Next, participants were randomly allocated to either one of two experimental groups and invited to visit the website providing information about tobacco additives (either with or without a database containing product-specific information) or to a control group that had no access to the website. After 3 months, follow-up measurements took place.

Results

At follow-up (n=492), no statistically significant differences were found for knowledge, risk perception, attitude, or smoking behavior between the intervention and control groups. Website visits were positively related to younger participants (B=-0.07, 95% CI -0.12 to -0.01; t(11)=-2.43, P=.02) and having a low risk perception toward tobacco additives (B=-0.32, 95% CI -0.63 to -0.02; t(11)=-2.07, P=.04). In comparison, having a lower education (B=-0.67, 95% CI -1.14 to -0.17; t(11)=-2.65, P=.01) was a significant predictor for making less use of the website. Furthermore, the website was evaluated less positively by smokers compared to nonsmokers (t(324)=-3.55, P

Conclusions

The website did not change perceptions of tobacco additives or smoking behavior. Further research is necessary to find out how online information can be used to effectively communication about the risks of tobacco additives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • tobacco additives
  • information dissemination
  • website use
  • website evaluation
  • RCT
  • HEALTH INFORMATION
  • CANCER-RISK
  • PRODUCTS
  • BELIEFS
  • SMOKERS
  • ADULTS
  • CONSTITUENTS
  • PERCEPTIONS
  • CIGARETTES
  • BEHAVIORS

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