Introduction Recently, the Italian Ministry of Health developed a health prevention campaign against tobacco smoking entitled "Ma che sei scemo? Il fumo fammale" (Are you stupid? Smoking is bad). The aim of this study was to evaluate the diffusion of the ministerial campaign by analyzing data from two web platforms, Facebook and YouTube.
Method The study evaluated the dissemination of the campaign using the number of users reached, interactions and the interaction index (interactions/users reached) on the web platform Facebook and YouTube. A qualitative analysis of the text comments left by the users was also carried out.
Result The average number of interactions on Facebook was 6.087 and 400 for YouTube while the total views were 356.967 for Facebook and 174.763 for YouTube. The interaction index was very low for both platforms, between 0 and 1%. A total number of 156 comments were obtained on Facebook and 37 on YouTube, most of which were negative, or comments not related to the campaign.
Conclusion The Italian campaign had low diffusion on the web platforms investigated. Evidence-based public health interventions can play a central role in the prevention field but must be based on elements of scientific effectiveness. Further research should analyze the effects of social media campaigns on direct health related outcomes.
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