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Market-level exposure to state antismoking media campaigns and public support for tobacco control policy in the United States, 2001–2002

Abstract

Objective This study tests whether exposure to state antismoking media campaigns is associated with increased support for comprehensive bans on smoking indoors and cigarette advertising.

Methods We combine commercially available data on market-level state-sponsored antismoking advertisements with three waves of the Current Population Survey’s Tobacco Use Supplement to test the relationship between market-level volume of state antismoking advertising exposure and support for tobacco control policy between 2001 and 2002. We use logistic regression to assess which message themes employed in the advertisements are associated with increased support for tobacco control policy.

Results The overall market-level volume of exposure to state antismoking ads targeted to adults or the general population was associated with significant increases in support for comprehensive indoor smoking bans. These effects were driven by exposure to ads emphasising the health consequences of smoking to others, anti-industry appeals and irrationality/addiction appeals. Evidence of campaign impact on support for tobacco advertising bans was less clear and, when statistically significant, small in magnitude relative to the impact of the state economic and tobacco control policy environment.

Conclusions This study shows that that large-scale antismoking media campaigns can have a meaningful secondary impact on support for comprehensive indoor smoking bans. Future research should identify the conditions under which mass media campaigns primarily targeting smoking behaviour may influence public support for a variety of other tobacco control policies.

  • health communication
  • policy
  • antismoking campaigns
  • advertising

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