Mass media antismoking campaigns: a powerful tool for health promotion

Ann Intern Med. 1998 Jul 15;129(2):128-32. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-129-2-199807150-00013.


Cigarette advertising and promotion have been shown to influence smoking in young persons, but the powerful effect of the mass media on behavior can also be used to promote health. Several states have earmarked a portion of their cigarette excise tax revenues to fund mass media antismoking campaigns, which have been effective in reducing cigarette consumption and in helping persons quit smoking. Despite their successes, the campaigns have been hindered by tobacco industry-supported attempts to cut their funding or restrict their scope. The most aggressive campaigns, which attack the tobacco industry and challenge social norms about tobacco use and promotion, are the most controversial but also the most effective. Mass media antismoking campaigns are a promising tool for health promotion, but only if sustained funding can be guaranteed and the development of the advertisements can be protected from intrusion by political forces.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion* / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Mass Media* / history
  • Politics
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • United States