The Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Campaigns over the Life-Cycle and the Role of Information
Our study documents the effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns on various age groups and attempts to shed some light on the mechanism by which community interventions operate and affect smokers. We re-examine evidence from a large scale National Cancer Institute community-wide intervention study entitled `The Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation' (COMMIT). Our empirical results show that this intervention has differential effects on the quit rates of smokers. This variation has not been observed in the earlier literature on anti-smoking campaigns and was not noticed by previous studies using the COMMIT data. The quit rates in the intervention group are found to be significantly higher for individuals aged 30 to 37 and those aged 60 and up, but lower for those younger than 30. The various channels of the COMMIT study were developed to create an awareness and recognition that smoking is a public health problem, and to change the social acceptability of smoking. In light of the age variation uncovered, we argue that the public information channel may play a crucial role in affecting change. In particular, public awareness about the negative health consequences of smoking is likely to be responsible for the increased quits among older smokers in the treatment group.
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