Inoculating Black/African American and LGBTQ Communities Against the Tobacco Industry: The Role of Community Connectedness and Tobacco Denormalization Beliefs

Christopher W. Wheldon, Chris Skurka, Nicholas Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to explore how connectedness to Black/African American or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities can promote anti-tobacco industry beliefs and to examine the role of targeted anti-tobacco industry messaging (i.e., tobacco industry denormalization [TID] messages).We hypothesized that community connectedness would predict anti-tobacco industry motivation (H1) and that this effect would be mediated by community-specific anti-industry beliefs (H2). We also hypothesized that these effects would be greater (i.e., moderated) for individuals exposed to targeted TID messages (H3). This study was a secondary analysis of data from a web-based experiment focused on the effects of counter-industry messages (data collected in 2020). The sample consisted of 430 Black/African Americans and 458 LGBTQ young adults. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. In support of hypothesis 1, community connectedness was associated with anti-tobacco industry motivation for both the LGBTQ and Black/African American subsamples. Hypothesis 2 was also supported. The associations between community connectedness and anti-industry motivations were partially mediated by anti-industry beliefs. Hypothesis 3 was not supported. Exposure to counter-industry messages did not modify the structural model; however, counter-industry messages increased anti-industry beliefs in both subsamples. Fostering community connectedness may help to mobilize community-based tobacco control efforts. Furthermore, interventions targeting anti-tobacco industry beliefs may be effective at reducing tobacco-related disparities. Anti-tobacco industry beliefs can be increased using brief targeted TID messages. Collectively, these findings suggest that community-based approaches rooted in consciousness-raising action may provide a useful model for future tobacco control interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-454
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number3
Early online dateJan 17 2023
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Black Americans
  • community health planning
  • health communication
  • minority group
  • nonheterosexual persons
  • sexual minorities
  • tobacco consumption
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Black or African American/psychology
  • Young Adult
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities/psychology
  • Motivation
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Adult


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