Assessing the effectiveness of the mass media in discouraging smoking behavior. Chapter 12
This chapter reviews the evidence mainly from two types of studies on the effects of mass media campaigns on tobacco use behaviors: controlled field experiments and population-based studies. Controlled field experiments, often called quasi-experimental designs, generally were feasibility or demonstration projects funded through research grants. In these studies, mass media interventions were delivered alone or in combination with other interventions (e.g., school or community programs) to subsets of a defined population, usually at the community level. The goal was to assess whether the intervention(s) could alter health behavior, including smoking, in the targeted communities. Comparison or control groups (in a few cases randomly selected) not receiving the intervention(s), and consisting of subsets of communities that are more or less comparable, were used as the basis for determining intervention efficacy. As will be seen below, these studies, although not definitive, were promising enough to warrant investigators’ continued efforts in this area.