According to The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Media campaigns that portray the tobacco industry in a negative light may be a powerful intervention to decrease young adult smoking, U.S. researchers said.

To determine attitudes, the researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, asked respondents how strongly they agreed or disagreed with three statements: Taking a stand against smoking is important to me; I want to be involved with efforts to get rid of cigarette smoking; and I would like to see cigarette companies go out of business.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found people who agreed with those statements and supported action against the tobacco industry were one-third as likely to be smokers as those who did not support action against the tobacco industry.

Among current smokers, those who had a negative attitude toward the tobacco industry were at least four times more likely to plan to quit smoking than smokers who did not support action against the tobacco industry.

“Running anti-tobacco ads to expose the fact that the tobacco industry kills five million people worldwide annually turns out to be hugely successful in preventing and promoting cessation,” study co-author Stanton Glantz, director of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in a statement. “Other anti-smoking advertising campaigns have focused more on health hazards of smoking, rather than those including tobacco-industry denormalization messages.”

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