International Issues

Public Education Campaigns

"Tobacco addiction is a communicated disease — communicated through advertising, sports, marketing and sponsorship... Lured in large numbers by the glare and glamour of tobacco marketing that sells a deadly product as the taste of freedom and fashion, between 80,000 and 99,000 children and adolescents in the world take to tobacco every day."
— World Health Organization

Changing Attitudes, Exposing Tobacco Industry Practices

Public education campaigns are a vital component of a comprehensive tobacco use prevention and cessation program.

Aggressive marketing tactics by the tobacco industry demand equally aggressive public education campaigns to prevent smoking initiation among youth, to encourage smokers to quit, and to change the social context of tobacco use so that pro-tobacco messages are no longer dominant.

When planned strategically and executed well, public education campaigns can change individual attitudes and community norms regarding the acceptability of tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco industry practices.

As attitudes and norms change, behaviors change too, resulting in lower youth initiation, more tobacco users quitting, and fewer people smoking around non-smokers.

Equally important, as attitudes and norms change, the environment becomes more favorable for tobacco control policy changes, such as smoke-free workplace laws, increased tobacco taxes, advertising bans, strengthened tobacco pack warning labels, and services and treatment to help tobacco users quit.

Article 12 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control requires Parties to the treaty to promote public awareness and provide access to information on the addictiveness of tobacco, the health risks of tobacco use and exposure to smoke, the benefits of cessation, and the actions of the tobacco industry.