IHRP Economist to Study Smoking-Related Television Ads


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funding an IHRP economist to extend her study on smoking-related television advertising to include an examination of specific ad characteristics.

With previous funding from the National Cancer Institute, the researcher, Sherry Emery, purchased and analyzed ad ratings data from Nielsen Media Research to learn how exposure to smoking-related television ads is related to smoking behavior.

The new grant from the CDC will allow her to further describe the volume and type of smoking-related ads in the United States and examine how certain characteristics moderate the effectiveness of such ads on smoking behavior. She will analyze ads sponsored by the tobacco industry and anti-smoking ads created by state health departments and the American Legacy Foundation.

“Research shows that tobacco ads appear to influence smoking behavior, but now we want to know why,” said Dr. Emery, a senior scientist at IHRP.

Cataloging characteristics such as the primary messages, target audience, and overall production value of the ads may lead to a better understanding of what makes these effective, Dr. Emery said.

“Right now there is great variability in state-sponsored antismoking ads,” said Dr. Emery. “Eventually, we would like have a library available for states to find effective ads based on characteristics, such as ads that target pregnant women, or ads that focus on environmental tobacco smoke.”

The CDC grant is part of the Illinois Prevention Research Center, one of the longest running projects at IHRP.

This news release was written by Liz Jarvis, a research assistant in the Illinois Prevention Research Center and a master's degree candidate in the UIC School of Public Health.