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How state counter-industry campaigns help prime perceptions of tobacco industry practices to promote reductions in youth smoking
  1. J C Hersey1,
  2. J Niederdeppe1,
  3. S W Ng1,
  4. P Mowery1,*,
  5. M Farrelly1,
  6. P Messeri2,
  1. 1RTI International, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2American Legacy Foundation, Washington DC
  1. Correspondence to:
 James Hersey
 PhD, RTI International, 1615 M Street, NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20036, USA; hersey{at}


Objective: This study assessed the impact of state media campaigns that prominently feature counter-industry messages on youth cigarette smoking, beyond the effects of price, secular trends, tobacco control efforts, and the national truth® campaign.

Methods: Rates of youth smoking were compared in three groups of states: (1) those with long funded counter-industry campaigns (California, Florida, and Massachusetts); (2) states with more recently funded counter-industry media campaigns (Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, and New Jersey); and (3) other states. An analysis was performed for a series of national telephone surveys of 12–17 year olds between 1999 and 2002, controlling for differences in demographic background, the price of cigarettes, and exposure to the national truth® campaign.

Results: Between 1999 and 2002, rates of current smoking and established smoking decreased significantly faster in states with established or more newly funded counter-industry campaigns than in other states. State counter-industry campaigns appear to prime, or make more salient, negative perceptions about tobacco industry practices.

Conclusion: Results highlight the value of continued state counter-industry campaigns.

  • CA, California
  • CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • FL, Florida
  • GRP, gross ratings point
  • IN, Indiana
  • LMTS, Legacy Media Tracking Survey
  • MA, Massachusetts
  • MN, Minnesota
  • MS, Mississippi
  • NJ, New Jersey
  • REBEL, Reaching Everyone by Exposing Lies
  • SWAT, Students Working Against Tobacco
  • TUPE, tobacco use prevention education
  • counter-advertising campaigns
  • youth smoking prevention
  • state media campaigns
  • comprehensive tobacco control
  • priming effects

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  • * Current affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Current affiliation: Columbia University

  • Competing interest statement: This study was conducted at RTI International with support from the American Legacy Foundation. The authors had no financial interest in the campaigns described in this study and were not involved in campaign development.

  • RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.