Background: This paper reports findings from a field experiment that evaluated mass media campaigns designed to prevent cigarette smoking by adolescents.
Methods: The campaigns featured radio and television messages on expected consequences of smoking and a component to stimulate personal encouragement of peers not to smoke. Six Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the Southeast United States received campaigns and four served as controls. Adolescents and mothers provided pretest and posttest data in their homes.
Results and conclusions: The radio campaign had a modest influence on the expected consequences of smoking and friend approval of smoking, the more expensive campaigns involving television were not more effective than those with radio alone, the peer-involvement component was not effective, and any potential smoking effects could not be detected.