Background: Anti-tobacco television advertisement campaigns may convey messages on smoking-related health consequences and create norms against giving cigarettes. Methods: Altogether, 156 and 112 slots of a television advertisement " Giving cigarettes is giving harm" were aired on Suzhou and Yizheng, respectively, over one month in 2010. Participants were recruited from 15 locations in Suzhou and 8 locations in Yizheng using a street intercept method. Overall 2306 residents aged 18-45 years completed questionnaires, including 1142 before the campaign and 1164 after, with respective response rates of 79.1% and 79.7%. Chi square tests were used to compare the difference between categorical variables. Results: After the campaign, 36.0% of subjects recalled that they had seen the advertisement. Residents of Suzhou had a higher recall rate than those of Yizheng (47.6% vs. 20.6%, P < 0.001). The rate of not giving cigarettes dropped from 32.1% before the campaign to 28.5% after (P = 0.05). In the post-campaign evaluation, participants who reported seeing the advertisement were more likely not to give cigarettes in the future than those who reported not seeing the advertisement (38.7% vs. 27.5%, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Our study showed that an anti-tobacco television advertisements helped change societal norms and improve health behavior. Continuous and adequate funding of anti-tobacco media campaigns targeted at different levels of the general population is needed, in conjunction with a comprehensive tobacco control effort.
- Anti-tobacco television campaign
- Giving cigarettes
- Tobacco control
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