How effective are mass media interventions (MMIs) in reducing smoking among adults?
The evidence comes from a heterogeneous group of studies of variable methodological quality. Over half of the studies which measured quit rates reported significant increases in abstinence, but this finding was difficult to interpret because studies used different definitions of smoking, smokers and quit attempts. The intensity and duration of MMIs may influence effectiveness, but length of follow-up and concurrent events in the community can make this difficult to verify.
About 1.1 billion adults, or one in three worldwide, now smoke. MMIs involve communication through television, radio, newspapers, billboards, posters, leaflets or booklets, with the intention of encouraging smokers to stop, and of maintaining abstinence in non-smokers. Campaigns may be local, regional or national, and may be combined with other components of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.