Mass Media Interventions to Reduce Youth Smoking Prevalence

Brian S. Flynn, John K. Worden, Janice Yanushka Bunn, Laura J. Solomon, Takamaru Ashikaga, Scott W. Connolly, Amelie G. Ramirez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Scopus citations


    Background: Mass media interventions for reduction of youth cigarette smoking have been recommended based on a broad array of evidence, although few randomized community trials have been reported. Design: Four matched pairs of independent media markets were identified; one member of each pair was randomized to receive the intervention. School surveys were conducted in all markets, in 2001 before (n=19,966) and in 2005 after (n=23,246) the interventions were completed. Setting/participants: Grade 7-12 students from public schools in these eight medium-sized metropolitan areas participated in the summative evaluations; Grades 4-12 students were targeted to receive mass media interventions in four of these markets. Intervention: Four simultaneous campaigns consisting of specially developed messages based on behavioral theory and targeted to defined age groups of racially and ethnically diverse young people were placed in popular TV, cable, and radio programming using purchased time for 4 years. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of youth smoking and psychosocial mediators of smoking. Results: No significant impacts of these interventions on smoking behaviors or mediators were found for the overall samples. A positive effect was found for one mediator in subgroups. Among Hispanic participants a marginally favorable effect on smoking prevalence and significant effects on mediators were found. General awareness of smoking prevention TV messages was slightly higher over time in the intervention areas. Conclusions: Mass media interventions alone were unable to induce an incremental difference in youth smoking prevalence, probably because of a relatively strong tobacco control environment that included a substantial national smoking prevention media campaign.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)53-62
    Number of pages10
    JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jul 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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