Wouldn't the money be better spent on health education campaigns to prevent teenagers from taking up smoking in the first place?"
Quit smoking campaigns do work – and very effectively. Successive major studies have shown that hard-hitting mass media antismoking campaigns are among the top three most effective interventions for driving down smoking rates and encouraging smokers to quit. This includes the most comprehensive analysis of individual and interacting interventions in Australia, published in 2008, which concluded that increasing the price of tobacco products backed by quit smoking campaigns delivers the strongest synergistic effect to help smokers quit. Subsequent studies have drawn similar conclusions. By contrast, education campaigns targeting teenagers are largely ineffective. Reducing smoking rates in the adult population is a key to preventing smoking uptake in teenagers. Despite the compelling evidence of the benefit of quit smoking campaigns, whole-of-government investment in campaigns has declined in Australia over the past decade.