Objectives: We sought to assess the impact of several tobacco control policies and televised antismoking advertising on adult smoking prevalence.
Methods: We used a population survey in which smoking prevalence was measured each month from 1995 through 2006. Time-series analysis assessed the effect on smoking prevalence of televised antismoking advertising (with gross audience rating points [GRPs] per month), cigarette costliness, monthly sales of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and bupropion, and smoke-free restaurant laws.
Results: Increases in cigarette costliness and exposure to tobacco control media campaigns significantly reduced smoking prevalence. We found a 0.3-percentage-point reduction in smoking prevalence by either exposing the population to televised antismoking ads an average of almost 4 times per month (390 GRPs) or by increasing the costliness of a pack of cigarettes by 0.03% of gross average weekly earnings. Monthly sales of NRT and bupropion, exposure to NRT advertising, and smoke-free restaurant laws had no detectable impact on smoking prevalence.
Conclusions: Increases in the real price of cigarettes and tobacco control mass media campaigns broadcast at sufficient exposure levels and at regular intervals are critical for reducing population smoking prevalence.