Although cartoons are widely used in health communication, their effectiveness has seldom been tested. In this study, the effects of four humor–threat antismoking cartoon posters are evaluated in a sample of 12- to 15-year-olds (n = 183) in Hong Kong. The five-group comparison (including the control group) revealed that these posters did not increase antismoking attitudes in the sample but did decrease antismoking behavioral intentions. The better liked, more humorous, and more frightening posters did not produce increased antismoking attitudes or behavioral intentions. These findings warrant the development of theories to clarify the role of humor in health communication. Although cartoons are well liked by adolescents, practitioners must be aware of the possible negative effects of humor in cartoon-based messages.
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