We’ve all heard the old adage that ‘you are what you eat,’ but did you know that this applies to what you see as well? Recent research examined TV ratings from 1999 through 2007 and found that the more anti-smoking and anti-tobacco commercials you watch, the more likely you are to try to quit smoking. On the other hand, the more commercials for tobacco products you watch, the more cigarettes you’re likely to smoke.
So as you make your plan to quit smoking, include media as a potential trigger that you need to watch out for. We’re not saying you can’t ever watch your favorite show again—but if you’re serious about quitting, you might consider banning movies or TV shows that show characters smoking for the first couple of weeks you’re quitting. Just hold off until you get to a place where your cravings become less intense. And, yes: cravings do become less intense in just a few weeks.
To fill up your media time, check out our YouTube playlists of anti-smoking advertisements. Not only are they entertaining, research [2, 3] also suggest that graphic or emotional anti-smoking ads are much more effective than other types of anti-smoking ads in helping you quit. Even better: cravings typically last 5 minutes. Our playlist is 20 minutes long – definitely long enough to get you through!
For more ideas on things you can do to keep yourself busy during the first couple of weeks you’re quitting, check out our articles: Designing a Smoke-Free Social Life and 10 Tips for Coping with Cravings.
 Emery S, Kim Y, Choi YK, Szczypka G, Wakefield M, Chaloupka FJ. The effects of smoking-related television advertising on smoking and intentions to quit among adults in the United States: 1999-2007. Am J Public Health. 2012; 102(4):751-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300443.
 Duke JC, Nonnemaker, JM, Davis KC, Watson KA, Farrelly MC. The impact of cessation media messages on cessation-related outcomes: Results from a national experiment of smokers. Am J Health Promot. 2014; 28(4):242-50. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.120920-QUAN-452.
 Farrelly MC, Duke JC, Davis KC, Nonnemaker JM, Kamyab K, Willett JG, Juster HR. Promotion of smoking cessation with emotional and/or graphic antismoking advertising. Am J Prev Med. 2012; 43(5)475-82. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.07.023.