An evaluation of the influence of tobacco ads on youth smoking

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally, currently responsible for approximately 6 million deaths each year.

An evaluation of the influence of tobacco ads on youth smoking

Message type effects of tobacco control mass media campaigns Results Population-level effects of mass media campaigns on adult smoking While there are older reviews 38—42 of MMC effects on smoking behaviour, recent reviews on youth smoking effects 43 44 and broader reviews of MMCs across health behaviours, 1 4 we focused on the two most recent in-depth reviews of campaign effects on adult smoking.

A NCI review in was more comprehensive in its inclusion criteria, embracing controlled field experiments and population-based studies as part of comprehensive tobacco control programmes. Of nine field experiments, eight showed positive benefits of campaigns on quitting.


Recent evaluations that have examined quit attempts or sustained quitting, mostly provide further support for MMC effects table 1. The small pilot study found a trend for effects on quit attempts, but had limited power to detect effects on this behaviour.

The larger national study found a significant increase in quit attempts and a trend towards higher quit rates at follow-up. A time series analysis of monthly smoking prevalence over an year period found greater population exposure to televised MMCs increase of GRPs 2 months earlier was associated with acceleration in the decline in adult smoking prevalence 0.

Since the last reviews of concluded that MMCs have beneficial effects, five of eight additional studies examining effects of MMCs on behaviour quit attempts, sustained quitting or smoking prevalence found beneficial effects, one found a mediated effect, one found a trend towards an effect and one did not find any effects.

Overall, these studies further strengthen the evidence that MMCs can improve attitudes and intentions, promote quitting and reduce adult smoking prevalence.

Some mixed findings indicate not all campaigns are equally successful, and factors including the reach, intensity, duration and type of messages used are likely to determine overall impact. Campaign decay, intensity and duration An important aspect of determining optimal campaign investment is campaign decay, or the extent to which effects are detectable after the campaign broadcast ends.

A recent cohort study 21 found quit attempts were associated with MMCs in the most recent 3 months, but not with exposure in earlier months. A time-series analysis showed the beneficial effect of MMCs on smoking prevalence lasted only up to 2 months after exposure.

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Sustained smoking behaviour change requires frequent longer-term campaign exposure. Few studies have considered the intensity of campaign investment that can most efficiently achieve population changes.

Hyland and colleagues 47 found an average of GRPs per quarter was only weakly associated with quitting. A more recent cohort study of adult smokers found a mean of GRPs per quarter was significantly associated with quitting. Greater advertising exposure may be required to influence adult than youth smoking, due perhaps to the fact that most adult smokers are hampered by addiction.

For comparison, a threshold for detecting beneficial effects for reducing smoking uptake among youth may exist around teenage-targeted GRPs per quarter, 48 with effects increasing linearly 48—50 until potentially beginning to diminish above GRPs per quarter. However, this strategy may also increase costs, as multiple adverts are required.

Anti-tobacco social media use case Tweet2Quit

Given finite resources, targeting messages may result in a lower proportion of funds available to broadcast these different adverts, resulting in lower rates of exposure. The extent of targeting and segmentation therefore needs to be weighed carefully against the importance of maximising campaign exposure.

To examine these issues among adult smokers, we compared demographic subgroup differences in response to MMCs reported in previous reviews and more recent studies online table 1.

In the review by Bala and colleagues, 45 two wide-reaching campaigns examined effects separately for different socioeconomic status SES groups education and ethnicity and campaign effectiveness did not differ by education or ethnicity.

Another review of MMC effectiveness among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, 51 suggested that differences in the effectiveness of MMCs between SES groups may be due to differences in meaningful exposure, or motivational response, or opportunity to sustain cessation in the long term.

Of the nine reviewed general population campaigns that were less successful among lower SES smokers, five suffered from low levels of exposure and promotion. Underscoring the importance of adequate exposure and campaign reach, the five targeted campaigns that were not successful, were hampered by limited reach, 71—73 or very low levels of recall.

An examination of high intensity televised MMCs found no significant interaction between total potential exposure to MMCs and quitting behaviour 2 years later across SES groups.Tobacco advertising and marketing activity have been shown to have a direct impact on adolescent smoking intentions, perceived smoking prevalence and youth smoking prevalence [1, 2].

In addition, a dose–response relationship has been demonstrated between adolescent tobacco marketing awareness and smoking uptake [ 3 ].

Since Tobacco Free Florida began airing hard-hitting ads in , the state’s youth cigarette smoking rate has been cut by about half – from percent in to percent in among Floridians ages 6 The state had one of the lowest high school cigarette smoking rates .

An evaluation of the influence of tobacco ads on youth smoking

delivered interventions on smoking cessation in youth, and further study is needed in these areas. • Studies demonstrate that peer and family smoking status, social connectedness, sense of belonging, and school policies can impact youth smoking and cessation behavior.

Smoking tobacco is part of many societies and cultures. It is also a major cause of many diseases, including cancers. There are many factors that play significant roles in influencing people to smoke, but the most common ones appear to be peer pressure, family history of smoking and the tobacco industry's advertising and media campaigns.

Youth groups are designed to disseminate anti-tobacco messages through peer communication, to counter tobacco advertising influences in the community, and to develop future generations of tobacco control activists.

Because advertising that may influence youth smoking has also been broadcast at various times and intensities by tobacco control programs,12 it is a complicated matter to establish the relative influence of tobacco company-sponsored advertising.

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