Florida’s Anti-Tobacco Phone Survey

bridget

“I’m not interested.” “Take me off your list.” “Please don’t call me again.”

This is what comes out of most people’s mouths when a stranger rings them up at home or on a cell phone. Not me.

Nope, this isn’t a post about how irksome telemarketers and the like are, and how you ought to get rid of them.

I guess I have a curious mind. When I receive these calls, I’m always wondering what product is being sold or what is being asked of me. I’ll admit that I was a telemarketer myself one summer in college, so that might be part of it, but I usually give these people a couple minutes and hear them out before politely declining and hanging up. On the other hand, when it’s a survey of some sort, I gladly provide my full attention.

I actually get excited when called to participate in surveys! I think it goes hand-in-hand with the extreme pride I take in voting. Or perhaps my dorky affinity for research in general. Nonetheless, tonight was particularly interesting because the survey I was called on to participate in happened to be regarding a topic that I feel pretty damn strongly about: the anti-tobacco campaign in my state.

I enjoy being completely honest with a total stranger at even the most invasive of questions, once I have a pretty good feeling that the call is legit. I get a strange kick out of it. They could call and inquire about my eating, sexual, exercise, shopping, or lifestyle habits, and I would gladly discuss it all.

Sure, it helped that this time they offered to mail a check for $20 for my participation, but I would have gladly participated in this survey out of pure pleasure alone.

Sticking to a common Likert scale, I indulged that I have tried cigarette products, but that this lasted for a very brief time (a few weeks), and that I am completely confident that I will not be doing so again in the future. I discussed my familiarity with both pro- and anti-tobacco ads, and all sorts of other things. It lasted about twenty minutes.

Some of the questions were worded quite strongly. To paraphrase a few:

– Parents’ smoking in the presence of their children should be considered child abuse.

– People who smoke are basically suicidal.

– The government has no right no tell people whether they can smoke inside their homes.

And on and on. Here’s some information about the study,

Noella Dietz, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health
University of Miami School of Medici
ne

Awarded the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Grant for New Investigators by the Florida Department of Health. This award examines the prevalence of tobacco use among youths since the decision to defund the anti-tobacco campaigns in Florida and Minnesota.

And here’s a transcript of what my end of the conversation sounded like (thanks to my roommate, which was unplanned),

I completely disagree, completely.

It makes sense for them to spend more money on prevention, is that the question?  Yeah, I completely agree.

I completely disagree.

Um, what are the choices? Hmm, probably, disagree.

Completely agree.

I completely agree.

Hmm, I probably agree.

Hmm, that’s tough.  Uhh, well, if they have children… I think it’s different.  But I, hmph, there’s no neutral?  Ok, I say, I probably disagree.

I completely agree.

[Laughs]

I probably agree.

I completely disagree.

I completely agree.

I completely agree.

I completely agree.

I [pause] probably agree.

I… I probably disagree.

I probably agree.

I completely agree.

I completely disagree.

I probably agree.

Um… probably agree.

I completely agree.

I completely agree.

Yes, uh, probably agree.

I completely disagree.

I completely agree.

[Laughs] I completely agree.

Uh, that’s hard for me to say, I don’t know, well, I probably agree, actually.

I agree.

I completely agree.

I completely disagree.

I completely agree.

[Laughs]

Hmm, I… I probably agree.

I probably agree.

Smokers are not less likely to be… say that again.  Not less likely to be accepted. If I were reading, it’d be easier. No, I know.

Are less free to do things when they want to? Hmm… smokers are less free… I would probably agree.

I completely agree.

I completely… well, wait, to be smoke free?  Um, I completely agree.

I completely agree.

Uh, outside?  Well, I probably disagree, but [laughs[

Okay.

Sure.

Yes.

No.

No.

Yea… wait! three years.  Uhhh… yeah.

No.

No.

Yes.

Probably, only, like four, five.

Maybe one, or two.

One.

Extremely.  [Laughs] Very.

No.

No.

No.

One.

Yes.

Uh, no.

No.

Well, did I ever eat… Not now.

Yes.

Uh… an average week?  How many days?  Uh, two.

All right.  Probably five.

Yes.

Yes.

Well, I don’t.  So, yes, let’s just say yes.

Um.  No.

Yes.

Yes.

[Laughs]

It is.  For old people.  House wives?

Yes.

This one.  You [Here I gave my phone number, but you can’t call me.]

Okay, sure, okay.  Yes, it’s Bridget B-r-i-d-g-e-t [last name].

[Here I gave my address, but you can’t come over.]

And it’s Miami Beach, 33140.

Can you just tell me again the spelling of my last name, to make sure… okay.

Yes.

33140

Yes.

Sure.

That’s correct.

No problem. I enjoyed it. Thank you. Bye.

January 12, 2010 9:26 pm

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