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Source of Anti-Smoking Ads Influences Their Effectiveness, Study Finds

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High exposure to anti-smoking ads sponsored by states and private foundations result in reduced smoking rates, a new study finds. However, adults who are exposed to more ads for pharmaceutical smoking cessation products are less likely to make an attempt to quit.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago compared adults’ smoking behaviors, and their exposure to anti-tobacco television ads, in the top 75 media markets in the United States from 1999 to 2007. Smoking rates were lower, and more smokers said they intended to quit, in those markets where there was higher exposure to state-sponsored anti-smoking ads, HealthDay reports. The study also found that higher exposure to tobacco-industry ads was associated with more smoking.

Lead researcher Sherry Emery noted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funded many recent state-sponsored anti-smoking media campaigns. She said the recent increased funding for anti-tobacco campaigns may lead to reductions in smoking rates. “Since we looked at the total amount of exposure to anti-smoking campaigns — and the campaigns are very different – our data suggests that it may not matter what you say to people, just that you’re saying it a lot,” she said in a news release.

The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

The federal government recently unveiled a nationwide anti-smoking campaign, with a series of ads that feature former smokers who discuss the negative health consequences of smoking. The ads appear on television and in newspapers.

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