Counter-marketing activities can promote smoking cessation and decrease the likelihood of initiation. In addition, counter-marketing messages can have a powerful influence on public support for tobacco control intervention and set a supportive climate for school and community efforts. Counter-marketing attempts to counter pro-tobacco influences throughout a State, region, or community. Counter-marketing consists of a wide range of efforts, including paid television, radio, and print counter-advertising at the State and local level; media advocacy and other public relations techniques using such tactics as press releases, local events, and health promotion activities; and efforts to reduce or replace tobacco industry sponsorship and promotions.
Tobacco advertising and promotion activities appear both to stimulate adult consumption and to increase the risk of youth initiation. Children buy the most heavily advertised brands and are three times more affected by advertising than are adults. Today's average 14 year-old already has been exposed to more than $20 billion in imagery advertising and promotions since age 6, creating a "friendly familiarity" with tobacco products and an environment in which smoking is seen as glamorous, social, and normal.
In light of these ubiquitous and sustained pro-tobacco-use messages, counter-marketing efforts are comparable intensity are needed to alter the environmental context of tobacco use. The Fairness Doctrine campaign of 1967-1970--the only sustained nationwide tobacco control media effort to date--documented that an intensive mass media campaign can produce significant declines in both adult and young smoking.
Although the relative effectiveness of specific message concepts and strategies is widely debated, research from all available sources shows that counter-marketing must have sufficient reach, frequency, and duration to be successful. Effective counter-marketing efforts should:
- combine messages on prevention, cessation, and protection from secondhand smoke; target both young people and adults; and address both individual behaviors and public policies;
- include grassroots promotions, local media advocacy, event sponsorships, and other community tie-ins to support and reinforce the statewide campaign;
- maximize the number, variety, and novelty of messages and production styles rather than communicate a few messages repeatedly;
- use non authoritarian appeals that avoid direct exhortations not to smoke and do not highlight a single theme, tag line, identifier, or sponsor.
The Tobacco Prevention & Education Program uses a wide array of media venues to relate to varying age groups. Tobacco Prevention utilizes the following media sources to promote anti-smoking ideas: