This campaign successfully reduced tobacco use among 12- through 17-year-olds by correcting teens’ perceptions about the prevalence of tobacco use among their peers. The MOST of Us Campaign was among the first programs in the nation to be able to demonstrate widespread effectiveness using a social norms approach to reduce youth tobacco use.
The MOST of Us Are Tobacco Free Campaign began in 1999, when an initial four-month media campaign pilot project was conducted in three western Montana counties (Missoula, Lake and Ravalli). During 2000 and 2001, the pilot project was expanded to include four additional counties (Sanders, Granite, Mineral, and Flathead) for an eight-month media campaign. The primary message of the campaign was “MOST of Us (70%) Are Tobacco Free.” This normative message was delivered in the seven intervention counties via television, radio, print ads, billboards, theater slides and promotional items distributed to schools.
Pre- and post- campaign surveys found that after the eight-month campaign, 7% fewer teens reported first time cigarette use in the intervention area than did teens in the rest of the state which was used as a control area. This represents a 41% difference in the proportion of teens who were first time smokers in the pilot area as compared to the rest of the state (2000 and 2001 Youth Tobacco Phone Surveys).
Sponsors: The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (MDPHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)