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Brussels, 27 May 2010

HELP Campaign: Questions and Answers

1. What is the "Help 2.0" campaign?

Help 2.0 is an integrated media campaign including television, the internet and new media such as mini-sites accessible through mobile phones.

"Help 2.0" targets primarily young people. The general motto is providing help and support “for a life without tobacco” by delivering comprehensive information on health and social problems related to tobacco consumption.

The campaign aims to empower young people to take control of their health and lifestyles, instead of simply being objects in the eyes of the media.

2. What is the media strategy behind the "Help 2.0" campaign?

The campaign is "web driven". It aims to draw young people to the Help website where they can get all the information on the dangers of smoking, as well as the links to our tobacco control and youth organisation partner organisations. The website is available in 22 languages and the web and media campaign are complemented by a series of European and national public and press relations events.

3. What is the creative strategy of the "Help 2.0" campaign?

The creative strategy focuses on the collection, presentation, and implementation of 'tips' - absurd and serious - adressing the three traditional tobacco-control themes (prevention, cessation and passive smoking). The best tips are used as creative material, turned into future TV spots or part of an online campaign.

4. What is the target group?

Young people (15-24) and young adults (24-35) are the core target groups.

Experts recommend that younger people than that should be targeted via older groups as they are naturally attracted by messages targeting older people.

5. How do you involve the target group?

This campaign is being fully developed with the help and advice of young people. For example: the ideas for the new TV spots came directly from the Internet tips collection; medical student associations have developped specific information tools to be used during field events. Medical students are also actively involved in the events, administrating Carbon monoxide (CO) measurement and providing information.

6. How many youth organisations are involved?

The European Medical Student Association (EMSA), the International Federation of Medical Student Association (IFSMA) and the Youth Forum Jeunesse were the first organisations to get actively involved in the campaign.

Students from 59 youth organisations have attended our last meeting, new organisations are joining every month.

7. How to reach out to young people from disadvantaged social backgrounds?

The need to engage with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups has been clearly identified as one of the key dimensions for public health communication and the Help campaign.

Studies into the penetration of means of communication show that disadvantaged youth do not fundamentally differ from the rest of the “young” population in almost all of the 27 EU member states. But a guiding principle from the conception of the Help programme was that it should not be exclusively a media campaign. Action “in the field” and partnerships are also very important in order to relay the general message on a local level and reach out to all social groups.

Our main partners, the European Network for Smoking Prevention (ENSP), and youth organisations have expressed a strong interest in reaching out to vulnerable communities. They develop and run specific projects funded in the framework of the campaign.

8. What is the scientific evidence supporting the campaign?

To ensure that the campaign is developed in accordance with the latest scientific evidence, an Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Gerard Hastings, director of the Tobacco Control Research Centre of the University of Stirling Scotland, advises the Commission on the developments of the campaign. The advisory board is composed of tobacco control, education and media experts as well as three representatives of youth organisations.

9. What are the key elements of a successful tobacco control campaign?

We know from recent scientific findings that media campaigns can play a key role in building knowledge, changing attitudes and behaviours as well as influence social norms to de-normalise smoking.

European campaigns should set the strategic framework and be adapted at national and regional levels according to cultural and social needs.

To reach young people, campaigns should also target both adults and young people at the same time and, in general, be part of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.

10. How will the results of this campaign be evaluated?

The campaign will be evaluated from several different angles.

A specific evaluation procedure, based on 26,000 interviews has been developed by the survey agency IPSOS. Surveys are run after each national TV wave.

Thanks to these surveys we know that the campaign reaches its target audience, that young people like the campaign and that they understand the message. IPSOS methodology and results are available on our public health website.

The general strategy is also monitored by an Advisory Committee which will follow the campaign on a daily basis, have access to all information and advise the Commission on the best ways to proceed.

11. What is the budget for Help 2.0 and where does it come from?

The 2010 budget is 16 million euros.

The campaign is financed by a specific budget: “the Community Tobacco Fund”. This is fed from a levy on the aid granted to tobacco growing in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy.

This means that the budget of this campaign does not compete with any other public health or social action.

12. How long will it run?

2010 is the last year of the current campaign. With the end of the tobacco subsidies in 2009, the "Community tobacco fund" will also disappear. The Commission is currently exploring possibilities to continue public health media campaign.

13. Is a single European campaign for 27 different countries is a sensitive approach?

European citizens have great and common expectations about EU action in the field of tobacco control. However, we also know that effective campaigns must be adapted at national or even regional levels according to cultural and social needs. This is exactly what will be achieved here with national fine tuning of messages to the specific target groups and, more generally, with the involvement and support of all national youth media and tobacco control partners.

14. Can a media campaign be efficient?

Campaigning in isolation is not very useful. Experts agree on the fact that tobacco control campaigns must be part of a more comprehensive tobacco control strategy. That is precisely what we are doing here. The new campaign takes place within the context of the Community’s tobacco control policy which comprises legislative action, support for tobacco control projects through the public health programme, and participation in international tobacco control work including the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

15. What will be the main media highlights of 2010?

The new campaign is launched on 31st of May to celebrate the World No Tobacco Day.

Three TV spots inviting young people to contribute their own tips online will be broadcast on more than 130 TV channels simultaneously in the 27 Member States.

Also on World No Tobacco Day, events will take place in the 27 European capitals. In Brussels, the Help campaign is partner of the Brussels 20km race.

Throughout the year media actions (Internet, mobile phone) and in the field events (tip collection) will be organised. The campaign will be present during the most popular events in the Member States and specific projects will be developed in partnership with youth and tobacco control organisations.

For more information, please visit:

HELP - for a life without tobacco campaign:

An overview of Commission's actions on tobacco control:

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