Social Media Use for Public Health Campaigning in a Low Resource Setting: The Case of Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • INTRODUCTION: Waterpipe tobacco smoking prevalence is increasing worldwide despite its documented health effects. A general belief that it is less harmful than cigarettes may be fuelled by the lack of media campaigns highlighting its health effects. We aimed to create and assess the impact of a social media campaign about dangers of waterpipe smoking. METHODS: The "ShishAware" campaign included three social media (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) and a website. Nine months after launch we collected data to assess use of, and reaction to, our media accounts. RESULTS: Requiring limited maintenance resources, Facebook attracted campaign supporters but YouTube attracted opposers. Twitter enabled the most organisation-based contact but Facebook was the most interactive medium. Facebook users were more likely to "like" weekday than weekend statuses and more likely to comment on "shisha fact" than "current affairs" statuses. Follower subscription increased as our posting rate increased. Our YouTube video gained 19,428 views (from all world continents) and 218 comments (86% from pro-waterpipe smokers). CONCLUSIONS: Social media campaigns can be created and maintained relatively easily. They are innovative and have the potential for wide and rapid diffusion, especially towards target audiences. There is a need for more rigorous evaluation of their effects, particularly among the youth.

authors

  • Jawad, Mohammed
  • Abass, Jooman
  • Hariri, Ahmad
  • Akl, Elie

publication date

  • 2015