Virtually no research has examined the responses of youth with recent-onset psychosis (ROP) to smoking-related health warnings. We examined predictors of response and tested hypotheses that participants with ROP would (a) assess warnings as less effective than a healthy comparison (HC) group, and (b) assess video warnings as more effective than pictures. ROP participants (n = 69) hadtreatment; the HC group (n = 79) had no major mental illness. Participants viewed 10 pictorial warnings, 8 videos depicting similar messages, and were interviewed regarding tobacco use, health literacy, and smoking knowledge. We assessed response at baseline and at 4-week follow-up. ROP participants were more likely than HC to smoke tobacco (49.3% vs 10.1%) and had lower levels of health literacy and smoking-related knowledge. Cannabis was used by 46.4% of ROP participants. Effectiveness ratings were high for both picture and video warnings with no differences between media. ROP participants compared to HC and nonsmokers compared to smokers were more likely to perceive warnings as effective. Effectiveness was associated with negative affect and greater emotional arousal. We assessed 33 smokers at follow-up; 5 (15%) identified as nonsmokers, 15 (45%) made a quit attempt, and 16 (49%) reported that the warnings influenced their smoking. Results indicate that young people with psychotic disorders respond favorably to health warnings. Effective messages depict health consequences clearly, elicit negative emotions, and may impact smoking behavior. Future research is needed to understand the effects of mode of presentation and message comprehension on smoking behavior.
Faculty; Northwell Researcher
School of Medicine; Northwell Health