Effectiveness of tobacco control television advertising in changing tobacco use in England: a population-based cross-sectional study

Addiction. 2014 Jun;109(6):986-94. doi: 10.1111/add.12501. Epub 2014 Mar 10.


Aim: To examine whether government-funded tobacco control television advertising shown in England between 2002 and 2010 reduced adult smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption.

Design: Analysis of monthly cross-sectional surveys using generalised additive models.

Setting: England.

Participants: More than 80 000 adults aged 18 years or over living in England and interviewed in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

Measurements: Current smoking status, smokers' daily cigarette consumption, tobacco control gross rating points (GRPs-a measure of per capita advertising exposure combining reach and frequency), cigarette costliness, tobacco control activity, socio-demographic variables.

Findings: After adjusting for other tobacco control policies, cigarette costliness and individual characteristics, we found that a 400-point increase in tobacco control GRPs per month, equivalent to all adults in the population seeing four advertisements per month (although actual individual-level exposure varies according to TV exposure), was associated with 3% lower odds of smoking 2 months later [odds ratio (OR) = 0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.95, 0.999] and accounted for 13.5% of the decline in smoking prevalence seen over this period. In smokers, a 400-point increase in GRPs was associated with a 1.80% (95%CI = 0.47, 3.11) reduction in average cigarette consumption in the following month and accounted for 11.2% of the total decline in consumption over the period 2002-09.

Conclusion: Government-funded tobacco control television advertising shown in England between 2002 and 2010 was associated with reductions in smoking prevalence and smokers' cigarette consumption.

Keywords: Cigarettes; consumption; gross rating points (GRPs); mass media campaign; smoking prevalence; smoking rates; television advertisement; tobacco control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Television*
  • Young Adult