The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is still the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States. About 20 percent of American adults still smoke and more than 4,000 adolescents smoke their first cigarette each day.

National Cancer Institute's Tobacco Control Monograph 19, "The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use" explores how mass media have affected our attitudes and behaviors toward tobacco use. Media channels have been successfully used to promote tobacco use and to reduce it. Now, when the use of mass media is expanding and the tobacco industry is finding new ways to encourage tobacco use, a full understanding of this issue is vital to public health.

The latest in the Tobacco Control Monograph series, Monograph 19 provides a critical, scientific review and synthesis of current evidence regarding the power of the media both to promote and reduce tobacco use. In addition, the monograph explores and recommends strategies to leverage the media to best serve the public health in this high-stakes arena.

To help us understand these issues, this monograph gives important facts about media and tobacco use, including:

  • Youth are influenced to start smoking by tobacco advertising and promotions
  • Depictions of tobacco in movies prompt adolescents to start smoking
  • Televised media campaigns can reduce tobacco use
  • The tobacco industry and its supporters have used various media strategies to counter tobacco control measures and messages
  • Media, including new and nontraditional forms such as the Internet and video games, will continue to influence tobacco use in the future

Order a free monograph copy by going to Monograph 19: The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use or calling the NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Ask for NIH Publication No. 07-6242.

The Tobacco Control Monograph Series, established in 1991 by the National Cancer Institute, provides ongoing and timely information about emerging public health issues in smoking and tobacco use control. Recent titles include: Greater Than the Sum: Systems Thinking in Tobacco Control; Evaluating ASSIST — A Blueprint for Understanding State-level Tobacco Control; and ASSIST — Shaping the Future of Tobacco Prevention and Control. To view past monographs, visit Tobacco Control Monograph Series.