The rise and fall of tobacco control media campaigns, 1967 2006

Am J Public Health. 2007 Aug;97(8):1383-96. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.097006. Epub 2007 Jun 28.


Extensive research has demonstrated that public education through media campaigns is an effective means to reduce smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption. Aggressive media campaigns that confront the tobacco industry's deceptive practices are most effective and are therefore a prime target for attack. The tobacco industry has attacked public tobacco control media campaigns since 1967, when the first public tobacco control media advertisements ran. Through studying tobacco control media campaigns in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon, and of the American Legacy Foundation, we identified industry strategies to prevent a campaign's creation, limit the target audience and the content of the messages, limit or eliminate the campaign's funding, and pursue litigation against the campaigns. Tobacco control advocates must learn from the past and continue to confront the tobacco industry and its third-party allies to defend antitobacco media campaigns or, despite evidence of their effectiveness, they will be eliminated.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion / history*
  • Health Promotion / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Promotion / trends
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Mass Media / history*
  • Politics
  • Smoking / history*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Industry / history*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States