Use of consumer survey data to target cessation messages to smokers through mass media

Am J Public Health. 2008 Mar;98(3):536-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.090340. Epub 2007 Jun 28.


Objectives: We identified the mass media channels that reach the most cigarette smokers in an attempt to more effectively target smoking cessation messages.

Methods: Reach estimates and index scores for smokers were taken from 2002-2003 ConsumerStyles and HealthStyles national surveys of adults (N=11660) to estimate overall and demographic-specific exposure measures for television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

Results: Smokers viewed more television, listened to more radio, and read fewer magazines and newspapers than did nonsmokers. Nearly one third of smokers were regular daytime or late-night television viewers. Selected cable television networks (USA, Lifetime, and Discovery Channel) and selected radio genres, such as classic rock and country, had high reach and were cost-efficient channels for targeting smokers.

Conclusions: Certain mass media channels offer efficient opportunities to target smoking cessation messages so they reach relatively large audiences of smokers at relatively low cost. The approach used in this study can be applied to other types of health risk factors to improve health communication planning and increase efficiency of program media expenditures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Marketing*
  • Television
  • United States / epidemiology