the public was exposed to mandated antismoking commercials on television, which produced the first four-year decline in per capita smoking in the history of cigarette smoking. Subsequently, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 banned cigarette ads on TV and radio effective in 1971 (Warner, 2006).

Experience with antismoking social marketing campaigns in both California and Massachusetts has demonstrated the ability of professionally designed, well-funded, and sustained counteradvertising to decrease smoking. More recently, the highly acclaimed “truth campaign” antismoking ads produced by the American Legacy Foundation have been demonstrated to decrease smoking among youth (Farrelly, Davies, et al., 2006). We conclude that properly produced, financed, and distributed media campaigns can discourage youth smoking and reduce smoking among adults.

Information and education clearly jump-started the antismoking campaign. All told, it seems highly likely that the combination of information and education interventions in the first decade of the antismoking campaign played a critical role in reducing youth smoking.

MEB disorders and related problems are more diverse and complex than the single behavior of smoking. Nonetheless, there is an important potential role for public communication in terms of reducing the stigma associated with MEB disorders, conveying messages about the support structure needed to facilitate healthy development, and generating public support for relevant policies and principles as well as positive attitudes about the potential of the nation’s young people.

Dissemination and Adoption of Common Principles

As documented in this report, there are interconnections among MEB disorders, and the factors that contribute to them are interconnected. Similarly, there are common principles across a range of prevention approaches. Widespread communication of these principles to parents, community decision makers, and policy makers could influence individual and collective decisions supportive of common prevention practices. As discussed in Chapter 7, a number of common aspects of effective preventive interventions as well as general lifestyle factors promote physical and mental health. Dissemination and adoption of these principles can contribute to the healthy development of the nation’s young people and the prevention of MEB disorders. Specifically:

  • Effective preventive interventions reduce young people’s exposure to biologically and psychologically toxic events, such as harsh discipline, abuse, and neglect.

  • A common feature of most validated prevention programs is an

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