Home > Mass media interventions for preventing smoking in young people.

Carson, Kristin V and Ameer, Faisal and Sayehmiri, Kourish and Hnin, Khin and van Agteren, Joseph EM and Sayehmiri, Fatemah and Brinn, Malcolm P and Esterman, Adrian J and Chang, Anne B and Smith, Brian J (2017) Mass media interventions for preventing smoking in young people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001006.pub3.

External website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1465185...

Background: Smoking is a modern-day epidemic, and preventing young people from taking up smoking remains a key health priority, since experimentation with smoking starts at an early age. One possible method of achieving this goal is through mass media, which have the potential to reach and modify the attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of a large proportion of the population.

Review question: Can mass media campaigns deter young people from taking up smoking?

Study characteristics: We found eight studies out of 1326 publications, covering 52,746 participants. One of these studies is new to this updated version of the review. The most recent search was conducted in June 2016. All studies were directed at youth younger than 25 years. Seven studies were conducted in the USA and one was conducted in Norway. The mass media method (e.g. television) and certain characteristics of those taking part (e.g. age), as well as the length of time followed up, differed between studies.

Key results: Three out of eight studies found that the intervention was effective in preventing smoking in youth. The remaining five studies did not detect an effect. Although there was some overlap in characteristics between both effective and ineffective programmes, effective campaigns tended to last longer (minimum 3 years) and were more intense (more contact time) for both school-based lessons (minimum eight lessons per grade) and media spots (minimum four weeks' duration across multiple media channels with between 167 and 350 TV and radio spots). Implementation of combined school-based components (e.g. school posters) and the use of repetitive media messages delivered by multiple channels (e.g. newspapers, radio, television) appeared to contribute to successful campaigns.

Quality of the evidence: The quality of studies in this review is limited, due to problems in reporting results and issues with study design. Studies varied in their design, the interventions they tested, and in the people they involved. Studies found mixed results. In particular, none of the studies reported blinding of groups and there were concerns around how the studies were allocated to intervention or control. It would therefore be unwise to offer firm conclusions based on the evidence in this review. Inclusion of only two studies from the last 10 years is concerning, particularly considering the rising use of social media among youth. More high-quality studies are needed.


[Clinical staff may also be interested in the clinical answer related to this review https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cca/doi/10.1002/cca.2657/full

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