There is evidence that many tobacco users are not fully aware of the high risks of disease and premature death caused by tobacco use. In low- and middle-income countries, many smokers may simply not know about these risks at all. Tobacco use is usually started in adolescence or early adulthood. Young people may be less aware than adults of the risk that tobacco use poses to their health. Young people, even when they have been given information, often lack the capacity to use such information to make sound decisions. Most starters and would-be tobacco users also underestimate the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine.
Yet there is extensive evidence that providing information to adult consumers about the addictive nature of tobacco and its resulting fatal and disabling diseases can reduce tobacco consumption. "Information shocks" that creatively use mass media campaigns as counter-advertising in order to inform the public on the health effects of smoking have been shown to reduce demand. Another form of "information shock" that has been found to be effective in reducing demand is the use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages.
- More on tobacco counter-marketing
- Impact of the graphic Canadian warning labels on adult smoking behaviour
- The World Bank Report - Do smokers know their risks and bear their costs?
- Economic assessments of interventions to assist smoking cessation
- Economics of smoking cessation, Parrot S.
- Guidance for Commissioners on the Cost Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Interventions, Parrot, S. et al.
Cost-Effectiveness of Cessation Interventions:
- Coffield AB, Maciosek MV, McGinnis JM, Harris JR, Caldwell MB, Teutsch SM, et al. Priorities among recommended clinical preventive services. Am J Prev Med 2001 Jul;21(1):1-9
- Max W. The financial impact of smoking on health-related costs: a review of the literature. Am J Health Promot 2001 May-Jun;15(5):321-31.
- Curry, SJ, Grohaus, MA, McAffee, T., et al. Use and cost-effectiveness of smoking-cessation services under four insurance plans in a health maintenance organization. N Engl J Med 1998; 339(10):673-79.
- Cromwell J, Bartosch WJ, Fiore MC, Hasselblad V, Baker T. Cost-effectiveness of the clinical practice recommendations in the AHCPR guideline for smoking cessation. JAMA 1997;278(21):1759-66.
- Cummings, SR, Rubin, SM, Oster, G. The cost-effectiveness of counseling smokers to quit. JAMA 1989;261(1):75-79.