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Monograph 19 The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use Editors Ronald M. Davis, M.D., Senior Scientific Editor Director, Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI
This monograph examines the dynamics of integrated tobacco-related media interventions. These include:
Mass media advertising
Media communications play a key role in shaping tobacco-related knowledge, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors among individuals and within communities. Media communications on tobacco include brand-specific advertising and promotion, news coverage, depictions of tobacco use and tobacco products in entertainment media, public relations, corporate sponsorship, corporate advertising, political advertising for ballot initiatives and referenda, and media campaigns for tobacco control.
Cigarettes are one of the most heavily marketed products in the United States. Between 1940 and 2005, U.S. cigarette manufacturers spent about $250 billion (in 2006 dollars) on cigarette advertising and promotion. In 2005, the industry spent $13.5 billion (in 2006 dollars) on cigarette advertising and promotion ($37 million per day on average). Currently, most of the cigarette industry’s marketing budget is allocated to promotional activities, especially for price discounts. Price discounts accounted for 75% of total marketing expenditures in 2005 ($10.1 billion in 2006 dollars). Less than 1% of cigarette marketing expenditures is now used for advertising in traditional print media.
Endorsements and testimonials
Retail value added
Company Web site
TelephoneTypes of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Federal Trade Commission)
Tobacco advertising has been dominated by three themes: providing satisfaction (taste, freshness, mildness, etc.), assuaging anxieties about the dangers of smoking, and creating associations between smoking and desirable outcomes (independence, social success, sexual attraction, thinness, etc.). Targeting various population groups—including men, women, youth and young adults, specific racial and ethnic populations, religious groups, the working class, and gay and lesbian populations—has been strategically important to the tobacco industry.
“[After cigarette advertising is no longer allowed in the broadcast media] It is the intention of the cigarette manufacturers to continue to avoid advertising directed to young persons; … to avoid advertising which represents that cigarette smoking is essential to social prominence, success, or sexual attraction; and to refrain from depicting smokers engaged in sports or other activities requiring stamina or conditioning beyond those required in normal recreation.”
The total weight of evidence—from multiple types of studies, conducted by investigators from different disciplines, and using data from many countries—demonstrates a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and promotion and increased tobacco use.
Cross-sectional—A survey of a population group, at a single point in time, that examines the relationships between measures of exposure to tobacco marketing and measures of tobacco-use attitudes and behaviors (n = 52 studies; Table 7.3)
Longitudinal—Surveys of a population group, repeated at different points in time, that examine these relationships (n = 16 studies; Table 7.4)
Experimental (randomized and nonrandomized)—Experimentally manipulate exposure to tobacco marketing and then assess the impact of that exposure on measures of tobacco-use attitudes and behaviors (n = 9 studies; Table 7.2, pp. 232―238)
Econometric—Assess the association over time between the extent of tobacco advertising/promotion and the level of tobacco consumption. These are grouped into studies that …
Use national time-series data on marketing expenditures (n = 15 studies; Table 7.5)
Use local-level, cross-sectional data on marketing expenditures (n = 3 studies; Table 7.5)
Examine the effect of tobacco advertising restrictions on tobacco consumption (n = 6 studies; Table 7.5 and pp. 276―277)
The depiction of cigarette smoking is pervasive in movies, occurring in three-quarters or more of contemporary box-office hits. Identifiable cigarette brands appear in about one-third of movies. The total weight of evidence from cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental studies indicates a causal relationship between exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and youth smoking initiation.
6 cross-sectional studies
United States, Australia, New Zealand
Summary of studies
Consistency of association
Strength of association
Careful adjustment for competing explanations, such as differences in demographics, parenting, social influences, schooling, etc.
Evidence from controlled field experiments and population studies shows that mass media campaigns designed to discourage tobacco use can change youth attitudes about tobacco use, curb smoking initiation, and encourage adult cessation. The initiation effect appears greater in controlled field experiments when mass media campaigns are combined with school- and/or community-based programming. Many population studies document reductions in smoking prevalence when mass media campaigns are combined with other strategies in multicomponent tobacco control programs.
Controlled field experiments of media campaigns on
Youth smoking (25 studies)
Adult smoking (39 studies)
Population-based evaluations of state and national mass media campaigns on youth and/or adult smoking
52 cross-sectional studies
5 longitudinal studies
Types and Extent of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion—Conclusions
Themes and Targets of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion— Conclusions
Tobacco Companies’ Public Relations Efforts: Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising—Conclusions
Influence of Tobacco Marketing
on Smoking Behavior—Conclusions
Legal and Constitutional Perspectives on Tobacco Marketing Restrictions— Conclusions
How the News Media Influence Tobacco Use—Conclusions
Role of Entertainment Media in Promoting or Discouraging Tobacco Use—
An Overview of Media Interventions in Tobacco Control: Strategies and Themes— Conclusions
Assessing the Effectiveness of the Mass Media in Discouraging Smoking Behavior—
Tobacco Industry Efforts to Influence Tobacco Control Media Interventions—
Tobacco Industry Media Efforts to Defeat State Tobacco Control Ballot Initiatives and Referenda— Conclusions
The citation for this slide presentation is:
National Cancer Institute. 2008. Overview Presentation. The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use. Tobacco Control Monograph No. 19. http://www.cancercontrol.cancer.gov/TCRB/monographs/19/index.html.
These slides represent highlights from monograph 19 of the NCI Tobacco Control Monograph Series. The entire monograph, The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use, and related materials are available from the National Cancer Institute at: