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Tobacco industry denormalisation as a tobacco control intervention: a review
  1. Ruth E Malone1,
  2. Quinn Grundy1,
  3. Lisa A Bero2
  1. 1Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
  2. 2Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, and Institute for Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Prof Ruth E Malone, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St, Suite 455, San Francisco, California 94118, USA; ruth.malone{at}


Objective To conduct a review of research examining the effects of tobacco industry denormalisation (TID) on smoking-related and attitude-related outcomes.

Methods The authors searched Pubmed and Scopus databases for articles published through December 2010 (see figure 1). We included all peer-reviewed TID studies we could locate that measured smoking-related outcomes and attitudes toward the tobacco industry. Exclusion criteria included: non-English language, focus on tobacco use rather than TID, perceived ad efficacy as sole outcome, complex program interventions without a separately analysable TID component and non peer-reviewed literature. We analysed the literature qualitatively and summarised findings by outcome measured.

Results After excluding articles not meeting the search criteria, the authors reviewed 60 studies examining TID and 9 smoking-related outcomes, including smoking prevalence, smoking initiation, intention to smoke and intention to quit. The authors also reviewed studies of attitudes towards the tobacco industry and its regulation. The majority of studies suggest that TID is effective in reducing smoking prevalence and initiation and increasing intentions to quit. Evidence is mixed for some other outcomes, but some of the divergent findings may be explained by study designs.

Conclusions A robust body of evidence suggests that TID is an effective tobacco control intervention at the population level that has a clear exposure–response effect. TID may also contribute to other tobacco control outcomes not explored in this review (including efforts to ‘directly erode industry power’), and thus may enhance public support and political will for structural reforms to end the tobacco epidemic.

  • Tobacco industry
  • qualitative study
  • marginalised populations
  • industry public relations/media
  • industry documents
  • litigation
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • advocacy
  • health services
  • advocacy
  • end game
  • public policy

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  • Funding National Cancer Institute, Grant Number CA120138 (REM); Flight Attendants' Medical Research Institute (LAB).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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