Private Profits and Public Health: Does Advertising of Smoking Cessation Products Encourage Smokers to Quit?
We study the impact of smoking cessation product advertising. To measure potential exposure, we link survey data on magazine-reading habits and smoking behavior with an archive of print advertisements. We find that smokers who are exposed to more advertising are more likely to attempt to quit and to successfully quit. While some increased quitting involves product purchases, we find that product advertisements also prompt cold turkey quitting. Identifying the causal impact of advertising is difficult because advertisers target consumers. Although reverse causality could bias our estimates upward, our baseline results are not sensitive to a series of checks.
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