This article explores the components of an effective mass media policy and the role of mass media campaigns as part of a comprehensive set of tobacco control strategies. First, the main findings of the empirical literature are briefly reviewed. Then a framework for understanding mass media policies is developed showing the influence of concurrent tobacco control policies and the interrelationship between the two. A model will be presented that draws on concepts and research from the advertising and marketing literature, as well as from public health studies. A discussion of limitations of the extant literature and issues that warrant further examination will conclude.