Objectives: This study examined the effects of advertising directed against light cigarettes (lights).
Methods: In a quasi-experimental post-test-only design, smokers and ex-smokers (</=1 year) in Massachusetts (MASS) (N=500) and the continental United States (U.S. ) (N=501) took part in random-digit dialing telephone interviews. We used multiple logistic regression analyses to control for gender, education, and age effects.
Results: Compared with the U.S., the MASS sample contained more, recent ex-smokers (10% vs. 7% in the U.S.) and more smokers of higher tar cigarettes (44% vs. 35% smokers of regular cigarettes); more U.S. respondents thought lights had at least a slim chance of reducing the risk of health problems (49% vs. 32%). Within MASS, smokers who saw anti-light ads were less likely to think lights decreased the risk of health problems (26% vs. 44%) and more likely to know of filter vents (64% vs. 47%). These effects remained statistically reliable after adjusting for confounders.
Conclusions: Amidst extensive anti-smoking efforts, the MASS campaign to counter-market light cigarettes appears to promote smoking cessation and to inform smokers of the risks of light cigarettes. Further counter-marketing efforts should be encouraged.