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December 17, 1997

Impact of Promotion of the Great American Smokeout and Availability of Over-the-Counter Nicotine Medications, 1996

JAMA. 1997;278(23):2055-2056. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550230031013

THE 1996 Great American Smokeout (GASO), sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS), was held on November 21 and included a national promotional campaign in collaboration with a distributor of over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine medications. The 1996 GASO was the first to use a national promotion that included paid advertising of the GASO through television, magazines, and newspapers; direct-to-consumer promotions; and educational activities about GASO in retail stores that sell OTC nicotine medications.* To estimate the impact of this promotional partnership between ACS and a distributor of OTC nicotine medications on smokingcessation activity, the collaborators! analyzed data from three sources. This report summarizes the findings, which suggest that the promotional campaign, combined with OTC availability of nicotine medications, encouraged smokingcessation activity.

The 1996 GASO promotion encouraged quitting in general and did not promote any specific brand of nicotine medications; the focus of the promotion was on quitting on the day of