Some good news from the world of advertising? Well, yes. Because ads for nicotine patches and other ways to quit smoking actually do work—and they work even if you don’t buy the product being advertised.
That’s the finding of a study to be published by Cornell researchers in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Political Economy. Because although some people who saw ads did buy the products being advertised, it seems that just seeing the ads convinces other people to try to quit, regardless of how they do it, which is usually cold turkey. The phenomenon of influencing consumers beyond the advertised method is known as the spillover effect.
A 2006 study by the same authors found that consumers see more ads for over the counter stop smoking products than for those available only by prescription. Over the counter stop smoking aids are more heavily advertised. So if more products were available over the counter, there would presumably be more advertising, which in turn could lead to a lot more former smokers, regardless of how they stop puffing.