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Ideas and Opinions |

Mass Media Antismoking Campaigns: A Powerful Tool for Health Promotion

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH
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From Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. Requests for Reprints: Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, Boston University School of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, 715 Albany Street, TW2, Boston, MA 02118.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(2):128-132. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-2-199807150-00013
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Cigarette advertising and promotion have been shown to influence smoking in young persons, but the powerful effect of the mass media on behavior can also be used to promote health.Several states have earmarked a portion of their cigarette excise tax revenues to fund mass media antismoking campaigns, which have been effective in reducing cigarette consumption and in helping persons quit smoking. Despite their successes, the campaigns have been hindered by tobacco industry-supported attempts to cut their funding or restrict their scope. The most aggressive campaigns, which attack the tobacco industry and challenge social norms about tobacco use and promotion, are the most controversial but also the most effective. Mass media antismoking campaigns are a promising tool for health promotion, but only if sustained funding can be guaranteed and the development of the advertisements can be protected from intrusion by political forces.

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