11 Sep 2022


Mass Media Campaigns Against Smoking

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Academic level: College

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As part of the comprehensive tobacco control programs that address the harms of smoking, mass media campaigns have been important investments. A review article tilted ‘Mass Media Campaigns to Promote Smoking Cessation among Adults’ by Durkin, Brennan, and Wakefield published in the BMJ journals had an integrative review on the involvement of the mass media reducing adult smoking prevalence by explaining the harm of smoking, changing the smoking attitudes and setting the agenda for discussion. The three authors build the credibility of their article with well-researched databases such as Scopus, PubMed, and Psych Info among others (Durkin, Brennan & Wakefield, 2012). The data collected by the authors dated back on 1970 and while the social standards and beliefs might have changed considerably to promote smoking the authors manage to ultimately strengthen their argument that the mass media plays a critical role in the reduction of smoking tendencies in adults. 

Article Summary 

In their article, Durkin, Brennan, and Wakefield set the stage by summarizing what should be expected from the article. They explain the objective of the article which was “to explain the effects of mass media campaigns on promoting quitting among adult smokers overall and for subgroups; the influence of campaign intensity and different channels; the effects of different message types” (Durkin et al., 2012). Through the methods, the authors justify their findings through various researches retrieved from different articles. 

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To ensure the relevance of their report, the three authors excluded articles that focused on other groups other than adults. To ensure that they had the needed data, they categorized the studies according to population based studies of the campaign effects and forced exposure methods. Through the research, the authors concluded that the authorities should aim to reach a bigger population and give preference to news addressing the negative health practices. 

Rhetorical Appeals 


Throughout the article, Durkin, Brennan, and Wakefield use many sources that strengthen the credibility of the information they are offering and appeal to ethos as well as build their argument. Articles from Web of Science, PubMed and CrossMed all with relevant information associated with mass media sensation on adult smoking. Using these sources increases the authors' credibility by showing that they have considered their relevance and their relation to the topic at hand. 

The article commences with a summary of the abstract, methods, results and the conclusion. This gives readers an overview of the whole article. After reading the abstract, even the reader who will find it hard to follow the whole article will understand and support the author's positions. The introduction begins with an explanation of what the article is about –mass media's role in the reduction of tobacco (Abroms & Maibach, 2008). Through the introduction, the authors illustrate how the authors use appeals to ethos done their homework and have provided facts and statistics, as well as scholars opinions to support their claim. 


In addition to their ethos appeals, the authors use strong appeals to logos, with many facts and statistics and logical progressions of ideas. Several facts that relate to smoking, as well as the struggles experienced in their attempts to quit, have been pointed out. In this regard, the authors who have stated that, "Present quantitative data relating exposure to mass media message/s to a measured outcome is indicative of campaign impact. This includes message recall or recognition; cognitive and emotional advertising responses; physiological arousal; knowledge of tobacco-related health effects; tobacco-related beliefs; approval for tobacco control policies; quit line calls; and quitting-related intentions, activity and behavior)" (Durkin et al., 2012). 


The facts stipulated in these statements introduce and support the idea that the mass media has a large role to play in the awareness of the issues brought about by smoking and in the willingness of people to quit smoking. The authors continue with a lot of statistics aimed at supporting their claims to emotionally indicate the positive association mass media and reduction in smoking. They indicate that, 

Of 10 the controlled field experiments promoting smoking cessation, 7 showed some evidence for an effect on reducing the smoking behavior. Of nine field experiments, about eight showed positive benefits of campaigns on quitting. Of 11 population-based government-funded MMCs that occurred as part of state or national tobacco control programs, all indicated positive effects on smoking prevalence and per capita tobacco consumption (Durkin et al., 2012). 

Among other statistics, these statistics support the authors' claims that the mass media campaigns are fundamental in the fight against the use of tobacco by adults. The details appeal to logos and set the readers thinking about the influence the mass media have on addictions. Throughout the article, the authors have managed to maintain a strong appeal to pathos. The introduction explains how long mass media campaigns have been used to sensitize on the dangers of tobacco use (Durkin et al., 2012). 

The fact that health communication scholars use mass media campaigns to raise awareness among the public about smoking to emphasize the importance of the campaign. Health scholars are people who have studied widely on how to improve the health of the population through different approaches, and if they consider mass media to be effective, they cannot be truly wrong. Through the findings and discussions, the authors explain the prevalence of smoking in different areas where the mass media campaigns have influenced the desire to quit. Most studies by the authors managed to point out the beneficial effects of mass media campaigns depicting them as positive (Jha & Peto, 2014). The fact that the authors can show the readers that exact effect of mass media campaigns, i.e., they do not lead to many successful quits on smoking but they change the perception of the readers as most of them try to quit smoking makes the readers believe in the viability of the article. 

However, the authors seem to be less convincing on the effectiveness of the mass media campaigns on several counts. As stated in the findings; "Three more comprehensive recent studies have attempted to overcome the limitations of lack of a control group and lack of power to detect quitting outcomes" (Durkin et al., 2012). This depicts that the mass media campaigns have failed to some extent in the fight against smoking in adults. Logically, mass media campaigns take both sides when discussing tobacco use. The health groups use them to sensitize the leaders on the effects of smoking while the producers of tobacco use the media to promote their product. This is likely to bring out the unintended consequences which are to increase the level of smoking in adults. 

In conclusion, it is evident that although the authors point out on the lack of the substantial quantitative data collected, there is a difference noted when a given population is sensitized about the dangers of smoking through the mass media. Even though they do not quit immediately, the changed perceptions and multiple attempts at quitting are likely to be effective sooner hence reducing the number of adults engaging in smoking. The readers can relate to the honest findings that have been maintained throughout the article, therefore, agreeing with the authors' argument. 


Abroms, L. C., & Maibach, E. W. (2008). The effectiveness of mass communication to change public behavior.  Annu. Rev. Public Health 29 , 219-234. 

Durkin, S., Brennan, E., & Wakefield, M. (2012). Mass media campaigns to promote smoking cessation among adults: an integrative review.  Tobacco control 21 (2), 127-138. 

Jha, P., & Peto, R. (2014). Global effects of smoking, of quitting, and of taxing tobacco.  New England Journal of Medicine 370 (1), 60-68. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Mass Media Campaigns Against Smoking.


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