Find us on Facebook
Happening NOW On Twitter
follow us on twitter

Powerful Anti-Smoking Ad Campaigns Work

Hard-hitting anti-smoking ad campaigns raise awareness about the serious toll that tobacco use takes on one’s health and the many lives it affects. In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for more than 480,000 premature deaths each year.[1] For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more people suffer at least one serious illness from smoking.[2] The toll of tobacco goes beyond the lives it takes. It impacts the smoker’s loved ones, including the more than 40,000 children in the U.S. who lose a parent to smoking each year.[3]

Furthermore, smoking affects the numerous non-smokers exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke. In fact, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from secondhand smoke since 1964.[4]

Can a graphic and emotional ad on TV really make a difference?

The Florida Department of Health’s (FDOH) Tobacco Free Florida campaign uses aggressive ads that show the human impact of smoking as part of a comprehensive program. FDOH and Florida’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida select ads that have run in other states and countries and that have had a demonstrated positive effect on inspiring people to seek help in quitting smoking.

Tobacco Free Florida has seen encouraging results in reducing the prevalence of tobacco in the state. Since July 2007, more than 93,400 people have quit with the 3 Ways to Quit services. Encouraging progress has also been made in protecting the future – Florida’s youth. In 2013, the smoking rate for high school students in Florida decreased to 8.6 percent, one of the lowest high school smoking rates ever recorded by any state and far below the national average. Compared to 2007, 40.7 percent fewer high school students were current cigarette smokers.[5]

Academic research proves that powerful ads work. Strong evidence shows that graphic, hard-hitting anti-tobacco ads are effective, and those that arouse strong negative emotions perform better than those that do not.[9] Hard-hitting media campaigns are not only effective at promoting quit attempts, they also reduce youth tobacco initiation.[10]

The Evidence

•  Recent studies suggest televised messages that use graphic images to depict the negative health consequences of smoking and messages that use emotive testimonials depicting loss of family and other smoking-related hardship may be among the most effective in promoting cessation and reinforcing smokers’ intentions to quit.[11]

•  According to a study published in June 2010, ads that utilize a why-to-quit strategy with graphic images of the physical consequences of smoking and ads that use testimonials of personal loss from smoking personal testimonials were perceived as more effective among smokers than other ad categories.[12]

•  Campaigns that show the serious health consequences linked to smoking to motivate adult smoking cessation have also been associated with prevention of smoking uptake among youth.[13]

•  Studies indicate that sad or frightening ads that are highly emotional and feature the serious health consequences of tobacco use score significantly higher among adults on perceived effectiveness compared to ads that are funny or neutral.[14]

•  In one study, smokers who report being exposed to more highly emotional and personal testimonial ads were more likely to quit smoking at follow-up.[15]

•  Meta-analyses on the use of fear appeals in health campaigns conclude that fear appeals are most effective when accompanied by equally strong efficacy messages, such as information to call a quitline for help and support to quit.[16]

•  In New York, researchers found that graphic television ads were strongly associated with higher call volume to a quitline from 2001 to 2009.[17] Two of these ads, “Reverse the Damage – Heart Attack” and “Reverse the Damage – Lung Cancer” were chosen by Tobacco Free Florida to run in the state.

•  The Australia National Tobacco Campaign, which featured graphic hard-hitting ads depicting the negative health consequences of smoking, found that the campaign achieved high rates of recall and recognition, was appraised favorably by smokers, contributed to new learning about smoking and health, and increased agreement with campaign-related attitudes.[18],[19] Furthermore, even though the campaign was not targeted at teenagers, the vast majority of adolescents were aware of the campaign and thought it was relevant to them.[20] These ads, “Artery” and “Sponge” were chosen by Tobacco Free Florida to run in the state.

•  An estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit smoking because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2012 “Tips From Former Smokers” national ad campaign. As a result of the 2012 campaign, more than 200,000 Americans had quit smoking immediately following the three-month campaign. These results exceed the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.21 These ads were chosen by Tobacco Free Florida to run in the state.

•  The second round of the CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign in 2013 produced more than 150,000 additional calls to the national quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW), a number that links callers to their state quitlines. The campaign also generated almost 2.8 million additional visitors to the campaign website, cdc.gov/tips. These figures represent a 75 percent increase in call volume and a nearly 38-fold increase in unique website visitors, compared with the four weeks before the campaign began.22 These ads were also chosen by Tobacco Free Florida to run in the state.

To view some of Tobacco Free Florida’s ads, please visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/tvspots.

 



[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

[3] Leistikow, B, et al., “Estimates of Smoking-Attributable Deaths at Ages 15-54, Motherless or Fatherless Youths, and Resulting Social Security Costs in the United States in 1994.

[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

[5] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2013

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[7] 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Florida State-Level Report http://www.doh.state.fl.us/disease_ctrl/epi/brfss/2009databook.pdf.

[8] Florida Department of Health. Florida Tobacco Quitline Online Query and Reporting System. N.d. Web. 12 June 2011.http://www.flquitstats.com/home.aspx.

[9] National Cancer Institute, The role of the media in promoting and reducing tobacco use. Tobacco\ Control Monograph No. 19. NIH Pub. No. 07-6242, 2008, USDHHS, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: Bethesda MD.

[10]National Cancer Institute, The role of the media in promoting and reducing tobacco use. Tobacco\ Control Monograph No. 19. NIH Pub. No. 07-6242, 2008, USDHHS, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: Bethesda MD.

[11] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004

[12] Davis, K. C., Nonnemaker, J. M., Farrelly, M. C., Niederdeppe, J. Exploring differences in smokers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of cessation media messages. Tob. Control 2010;0:tc.2009.035568v1-tc.2009.035568

[13] Wakefield, M.A., B. Loken, and R.C. Hornik, Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviour. Lancet, 2010. 376(9748): p. 1261-71.

[14] Biener, L., Anti-tobacco advertisements by Massachusetts and Philip Morris: what teenagers think. Tob Control, 2002. 11 Suppl 2: p. ii43-6.

[15] Durkin, S.J., L. Biener, and M.A. Wakefield, Effects of different types of antismoking ads on reducing disparities in smoking cessation among socioeconomic subgroups. Am J Public Health, 2009. 99(12): p. 2217-23.

[16] Witte, K. and M. Allen, A meta-analysis of fear appeals: implications for effective public health campaigns. Health Educ Behav, 2000. 27(5): p. 591-615.

[17]Farrelly, M.C., et al., Promoting calls to a quitline: quantifying the influence of message theme, strong negative emotions and graphic images in television advertisements. Tob Control, 2011. 20(4): p. 279-84.

[18] Tan, N., M. Wakefield, and J. Freeman, Changes Associated with the National Tobacco Campaign: Results of the Second Follow-up Survey. , Canberra, Editor 1999, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

[19] Wakefield, M., J. Freeman, and J. Boulton, Changes Associated with the National Tobacco Campaign: Pre and Post Campaign Surveys Compared. , Canberra, Editor 1999, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

[20] White, V., et al., Do adult focused anti-smoking campaigns have an impact on adolescents? The case of the Australian National Tobacco Campaign. Tob Control, 2003. 12 Suppl 2: p. ii23-9.

[21] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Increases in Quitline Calls and Smoking Cessation Website Visitors During a National Tobacco Education Campaign – March 19-June 10, 2012,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 61(34):667-670, August 31, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6134a2.htm

[22] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Impact of a National Tobacco Education Campaign on Weekly Numbers of Quitline Calls and Website Visitors — United States, March 4–June 23, 2013,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 62(37);763-767 September 20, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6237a3.htm

September 20, 2013 posted in Quitting Tobacco , Add a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>