Diffusion of the Italian social media campaign against smoking on a social network and YouTube


health prevention campaign
tobacco smoke
Ministry of Health
social media


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.



Allen, J.A., Duke, J.C., Davis, K.C., Kim, A.E., Nonnemaker, J.M., & Farrelly, M.C. (2015). Using mass media campaigns to reduce youth tobacco use: a review. Am J Health Promot, 30(2), e71-82.
Bafunno, D., Catino, A., Lamorgese, V., Pizzutilo, P., Di Lauro, A., Petrillo, P., … Galetta, D. (2019). Tobacco control in Europe: A review of campaign strategies for teenagers and adults. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 138, 139–47.
Bala, M.M., Strzeszynski, L., Topor-Madry, R., & Cahill, K. (2013). Mass media interventions for smoking cessation in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 6, CD004704.
Bardus M. (2011) The Web 2.0 and Social Media Technologies for Pervasive Health Communication: Are they Effective?. Studies in Communication Sciences, 11(1), 119-136
Biener L. (2002) Anti-tobacco advertisements by Massachusetts and Philip Morris: what teenagers think. Tob Control, 11(2), 43–46.
Biener, L., Ji, M., Gilpin, E.A., & Albers, A.B. (2004) The impact of emotional tone, message, and broadcast parameters in youth anti-smoking advertisements. J Health Commun, 9, 259–274.
Bogdanovica, I., Godfrey, F., McNeill, A., & Britton, J. Smoking prevalence in the European Union: a comparison of national and transnational prevalence survey methods and results. Tob Control, 20(1), e4.
Carson, K.V., Ameer, F., Sayehmiri, K., Hnin, K., Van Agteren, J.E., Sayehmiri, F., …Smith, B.J. (2017). Mass media interventions for preventing smoking in young people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 6, CD001006.
CDC. Campaign on flu prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/
Durkin, S., Brennan, E., & Wakefield, M. (2012). Mass media campaigns to promote smoking cessation among adults: an integrative review. Tob Control, 21(2), 127–38.
Epicentro. La sorveglianza Passi. Retrieved from http://www.epicentro.iss.it/passi/default.asp
Facebook page. Ma che sei scemo? Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/ilfumofammale/
Farrelly, M.C., Healton, C.G., Davis, K.C., Messeri, P., Hersey, J.C., & Haviland, M.L. (2002). Getting to the truth: evaluating national tobacco counter marketing campaigns. Am J Public Health, 92, 901–907
Fosson, G.H., McCallum, D.M., & Conaway, M.B. (2014) Antismoking mass media campaigns and support for smoke-free environments, Mobile County, Alabama, 2011-2012. Prev Chronic Dis, 4, 11, E150
HBSC Italia. 4° rapporto sui dati HBSC 2014 Retrieved http://www.hbsc.unito.it/it/index.php/pubblicazioni/reportnnazionali.html
Hopkins, D.P., Briss, P.A., Ricard, C.J., Husten, C.G., Carande-Kulis, V.G., Fielding, J.E., …Harris, K.W. (2001) Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Am J Prev Med, 20(2),16–66.
ISTAT. Annuario statistico italiano 2018. Popolazione e famiglie.
Lee, W.B., Fong, G.T., Dewhirst, T., Kennedy, R.D., Yong, H.H., Borland, R., … Maizurah, O. (2015) Social Marketing in Malaysia: Cognitive, Affective, and Normative Mediators of the TAK NAK Antismoking Advertising Campaign. Journal of health communication, 20(10), 1166–76.
Ralph F.W. (2018) The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing. Practical Ecommerce.
WHO. (2003). WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. 2003.
WHO. (2018) WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2000-2025. Second edition.
Xu, X., Alexander, R.L., Simpson, S.A., Goates, S., Nonnemaker, J.M., Davis, K.C., & McAfee, T. (2015). A cost-effectiveness analysis of the first federally funded antismoking campaign. Am J Prev Med. 48(3), 318–25.