Objective: This study examined the effect of online comments on smokers’ attitude toward trying e-cigarettes. It also explored the effect of an unobtrusive forewarning in increasing smokers’ resistance to online review fraud. Design: 739 adult smokers participated in an experiment with a 2 comment valence (supportive vs. oppositional) x 3 comment deception warning (no warning vs. early warning vs. late warning) + 1 control (no comment) factorial design. Smokers watched two e-cigarette commercials. The control group received only the ads. The treatment groups saw 10 to 12 comments following each ad. Main Outcome Measure: E-cigarette attitude. Results: Smokers who read supportive (M = 5.28, SD = 1.37), oppositional (M = 4.96, SD = 1.53), and no comment (M = 5.44, SD = 1.20) showed significant difference on their e-cigarettes attitude, p =.004. When the comment climate was overly in favor of e-cigarettes, warning smokers of review fraud could raise their awareness of comment deception, increase defensive processing, decrease their social identification with commenters, and eventually lower their interest in trying e-cigarettes. Conclusion: The overall opinion climate in the form of aggregated valence of comments could sway smokers’ e-cigarette attitude. Smokers could benefit from warnings of online review fraud.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health