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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: This presentation will describe and analyze the effect that a comprehensive five year mass media campaign has had on smoking prevalence in Norway.
Methods: The presentation is a descriptive analysis of the Norwegian governments efforts in implementing the five year communications strategy.
Results: In spite of a close-to-comprehensive tobacco control program, smoking prevalence in Norway has remained remarkably stable. A significant shift occurred recently, following the announcement of bold political goals and a substantial increase in funding. The increased funding has been used to implement a carefully planned communications campaign. In the course of five years there will be a series of mass-media campaigns, strongly integrated with media advocacy, PR, and policy development. The first three years confirm that this is a fruitful approach. In 2003 – the first year of this strategy – the prevalence dropped from 29 to 26 percentage points. The next campaign was initiated later that year and portrayed the multinational tobacco industries' deceitful practices. This campaign was designed to create outrage and to increase the support for strong tobacco control measures. Surveys indicated that it increased the proportion in favour of increased efforts in tobacco control.
Making it look grim – showing the real consequences of smoking to the public, and to the decision-makers – proved to be an effective strategy for imposing new legislation and policies, as well as to provide the average smoker with incentives for quitting.