Beyond fear appeals in health messaging: The example of smoking cessation campaigns

Amanda Kalaydjian Richardson, Donna Vallone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Over the past 20 years, significant evidence has accumulated supporting the useof mass media campaigns in smoking cessation efforts. Studies across Australia[1-4], Massachusetts [5-7], California [8, 9], Wisconsin [10, 11], Oregon [12],Britain [13], Texas [14, 15], and others have shown that smoking cessationcampaigns can change beliefs and attitudes about quitting, increase motivation toquit, and stimulate quit attempts. For example, results of the original CommunityIntervention Trial for Smoking Cessation study (COMMIT), conducted from1988-1993 and spanning across nine states and Ontario, Canada, showed thatsmokers were 10% more likely to quit for every 5000 units of exposure to stateanti-tobacco television advertisements [2]. In California, 34% of former smokerssaid that the state-sponsored smoking cessation media campaign was influentialin their decision to quit [9]. Estimates indicated that the campaign accounted for21% of the 10-13% decline in cigarette consumption [16] and a reduction ofcigarette sales by 232 million packs between 1990 and 1992 [17]. Despite suchpromising results, it is unclear how mass media campaigns work to influencecessation-related behavior, and how best to construct and use campaigns toachieve this goal. A review of the literature confirms this: there is no easy solution, no best solution and no one solution. To reach and engage such a broadand diverse population as smokers, a multifaceted and dynamic approach may bethe only answer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMass Media: Coverage, Objectivity, and Changes
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781617288630
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond fear appeals in health messaging: The example of smoking cessation campaigns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this