Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an overview and evaluation of the European Commission “HELP – for a life without tobacco” campaign. Design/methodology/approach – Data collected via a web and a telephone survey is used to evaluate the campaign. Findings – The findings reveal how a campaign targeted at individuals can lead to social change through involvement with key stakeholder groups including NGO's and the public at large. At an individual level the campaign was received favourably with overall high levels of awareness and engagement with the message. The associated web site was thought to contain trustworthy information and persuasive arguments about the dangers of smoking and passive smoking. Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in providing an example of social advertising across a large number of countries. Furthermore, this case study adds to the literature on demarketing, highlighting that demarketing can take place across two levels both at the citizen level and at the governmental level.