Prevention Science, Vol. 6, No. 1, March 2005 (
Trends in Recall and Appraisal of Anti-Smoking Advertising
Among American Youth: National Survey Results, 1997–2001
Lloyd D. Johnston,
Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath,
Patrick M. O’Malley,
and Melanie Wakeﬁeld
Public health efforts to reduce the harms related to tobacco use currently include a signiﬁ-
cant emphasis on anti-smoking media campaigns. This paper provides (a) data on the overall
extent of exposure to anti-smoking media among American youth from 1997 to 2001, (b) an
appraisal of general youth reactions to such advertising, and (c) an examination of how expo-
sure levels and reactions vary by socio-demographic characteristics. Data were obtained from
the Monitoring the Future study, an ongoing nationwide study of youth. Data were collected
each year from nationally representative separate and nonoverlapping school samples of 8th,
10th, and 12th grade students (N = 29,724; 24,639; and 12,138, respectively). Self-reported
levels of recalled exposure to both electronic and print anti-smoking advertising were mea-
sured, as well as the judged impact and perceived exaggeration of such advertising. Data in-
dicate that signiﬁcant increases in overall exposure to anti-smoking advertising occurred over
the study time period. These increases were associated with (a) increases in the self-reported
likelihood that anti-smoking advertising diminished the probability of individual smoking
behaviors, and (b) increases in the perceived level to which anti-smoking advertising exag-
gerates the risks associated with smoking. Further, these trends were signiﬁcantly associated
with various characteristics—most notably, ethnicity, smoking behaviors, and residence in a
state with an ongoing tobacco-control program having a media component.
KEY WORDS: anti-smoking advertising; youth smoking; prevention; anti-tobacco; media campaigns.
Over the last decade, Americans have expe-
rienced a dramatic increase in exposure to anti-
smoking media campaigns. Such campaigns are often
part of comprehensive programs aimed at discour-
aging initiation, encouraging smoking cessation, and
advocating for the general public’s protection from
secondhand smoke (Wakeﬁeld et al., 2003b, 2003c).
These campaigns vary by the audience they target
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Center for Behavioral Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council
Victoria, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia.
Correspondence should be directed to Lloyd D. Johnston, PhD,
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, PO Box
1248, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1248; e-mail: lloydj@umich.
(general audiences or youth), the theme of the cam-
paign (e.g., short-term health effects, industry ma-
nipulation, and family guidance), executional style,
funding (affecting both advertisement production
and the extent of air time purchased), and a host of
Multiple studies have been conducted to eval-
uate the results of anti-smoking campaigns, with
varying results. The largest studies to date have
focused on statewide campaigns, such as those in
California and Massachusetts. Today, with national
anti-smoking advertising campaigns now produced
and broadcast by groups such as the American
Legacy Foundation, Philip Morris, and Lorillard,
there is a need to understand the national reach of
such media. However, to date, no study has pro-
vided trend data with which to gauge the overall
extent of exposure to anti-smoking media among
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.