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Results of a national mass media campaign in India to warn against the dangers of smokeless tobacco consumption
  1. Nandita Murukutla1,
  2. Tahir Turk1,
  3. C V S Prasad2,
  4. Ranjana Saradhi2,
  5. Jagdish Kaur3,
  6. Shefali Gupta1,
  7. Sandra Mullin1,
  8. Faujdar Ram4,
  9. Prakash C Gupta5,
  10. Melanie Wakefield6
  1. 1World Lung Foundation, New York, NY 10006, USA
  2. 2ORG Center for Social Research (The Nielsen Company), New Delhi, India
  3. 3Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 352 A Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi, India
  4. 4International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India
  5. 5Healis—Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, 601 Great Eastern Chambers, Plot 28, Sector 11, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai, 400614, Mumbai, India
  6. 6Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Vic 3053, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nandita Murukutla, World Lung Foundation, 61 Broadway, Suite 2800, New York, NY 10006, USA; nmurukutla{at}


Objective Smokeless tobacco consumption in India is a significant source of morbidity and mortality. In order to educate smokeless tobacco users about the health harms of smokeless tobacco and to denormalise tobacco usage and encourage quitting, a national television and radio mass media campaign targeted at smokeless tobacco users was aired for 6 weeks during November and December 2009.

Methods The campaign was evaluated with a nationally representative household survey of smokeless tobacco users (n=2898). The effect of campaign awareness was assessed with logistic regression analysis.

Results The campaign affected smokeless tobacco users as intended: 63% of smokeless-only users and 72% of dual users (ie, those who consumed both smoking and smokeless forms) recalled the campaign advertisement, primarily through television delivery. The vast majority (over 70%) of those aware of the campaign said that it made them stop and think, was relevant to their lives and provided new information. 75% of smokeless-only users and 77% of dual users said that it made them feel concerned about their habit. Campaign awareness was associated with better knowledge, more negative attitudes towards smokeless tobacco and greater cessation-oriented intentions and behaviours among smokeless tobacco users.

Conclusions Social marketing campaigns that utilise mass media are feasible and efficacious interventions for tobacco control in India. Implications for future mass media tobacco control programming in India are discussed.

  • Smokeless tobacco
  • smoking
  • evaluation
  • tobacco control
  • social marketing
  • mass media
  • communications
  • advertising and promotion
  • public policy
  • smokeless tobacco products

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  • Funding The impact evaluation was supported by a grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to World Lung Foundation. However, Bloomberg Philanthropies was not involved in any aspect of the evaluation study or the writing of this manuscript. The authors have not been paid to write this article.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Prior to participation, the study was described to all participants and their formal consent to participate was sought. The questionnaire was administered only to respondents who agreed to participate in this research. As an ESOMAR member, ORG-Nielsen complies with the professional and ethical standards of ESOMAR International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.