Kaiser Fung on the Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Ads

In a recent article cowritten for The Daily Beast, Kaiser Fung, Associate Program Director for the Master of Science in Applied Analytics, criticizes Joel Keller’s questioning of the effectiveness of anti-smoking ads.

Keller had argued in Slate that “maddeningly manipulative” anti-smoking ads don't work "and scaring the crap out of millions just to get 100,000 people to quit is an annoyingly inefficient use of resources." Fung counters this by pointing out that “the estimated dollar benefit of the ads is (100,000 quitters) x (5 additional years of life thanks to having quit smoking) x (100,000 dollars per year) = 50 billion dollars.”

Ultimately, he points out, “if you want to argue against the CDC’s ad campaign, you have to [tackle at least one of those estimates]. And then you’ll have to deal with the fact that the campaign didn’t cost anything close to 50 billion bucks.” He concludes that “if you want to call something an ‘inefficient use of resources,’ we’d prefer you bring some numbers to the table.”

Read the full article here and read more about our Applied Analytics program.