Lung cancer: lifestyles and environmental sustainability, the prevention campaign for Generation Z is underway

Lung cancer: lifestyles and environmental sustainability, the prevention campaign for Generation Z is underway


If you take care of the environment, your health also benefits and the risk of cancer is removed. ‘Respiro Impatto Zero – New air in the lungs of the next generation’, the first lung cancer prevention campaign designed for Generation Z, promoted by MSD with the sponsorship of WALCE – Women Against, leverages the sensitivity of the very young to environmental issues Lung Cancer in Europe. An initiative that brings two exceptional recruiters to the field: the actor Pino Insegno and the content creator Martina Socrate because this time they really want to speak to the hearts of the boys and be listened to.

Smoke, fine dust and tumors

If the numerous anti-smoking awareness campaigns have not always managed to touch young people, now the greater awareness that we all have with respect to environmental issues can be an engine to be turned on. Thus, instead of just making it known that smoke is carcinogenic, with the ‘Respiro Impatto Zero’ campaign we start precisely from the environment. Not everyone knows, for example, that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer but it also accelerates deforestation and climate change. The use of the car does not favor motor activities and increases the release of fine dust. Unbalanced food choices increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease and contribute to CO2 emissions2. Therefore, orienting our behavior towards zero impact means not only living in harmony with the planet and its resources, but also improving health and preventing numerous diseases, starting with cancer.

Lung cancer

Therefore, the initiative leverages the green sensitivity of digital natives to inform them about the role of cigarette smoke and environmental pollution in the onset of oncological diseases and in particular lung cancer, which records over 2 million estimated cases every year globally and is the leading cause of cancer death in the world. “In Italy in 2022 there were 43,900 new cases of lung cancer. At least 80% fall into those cancers defined as preventable because they are related to smoking addiction. In fact, cigarette smoke remains the main risk factor, although there are certainly other known factors including environmental pollution, occupational exposure to carcinogenic factors, radon”, he says Silvia NovelloPresident of WALCE, Full Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Turin and Director of the SSD of Pulmonary Oncology at the San Luigi Gonzaga AOU.

The risk factors

Many risk factors for tumors are part of an incorrect lifestyle in terms of diet, physical activity, harmful habits: “Precisely for this reason – continues Silvia Novello – it is essential to intervene before these habits become ingrained or in the early stages in which these begin to become part of the daily life of the boys. Moreover, young people are also great “messengers” and having them on board in dissemination initiatives and programs is essential in order to be able to transmit information with suitable methods and channels”.

A campaign for Generation Z

Zero Impact Breath – New air in the lungs of the next generation’ is the first lung cancer prevention campaign designed for Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, conveyed through social channels – Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook – a point of reference for the very young, also for information and research . To encourage “Gen Z” to sustainable and healthy behaviors in all aspects of daily life, the campaign has enlisted two exceptional ambassadors: Pino I teachvoice actor and actor, e Martina Socratesyoung content creator, protagonists of An (un)sustainable couple, a series of sketches focused on the generation gaps in terms of prevention and sustainability and on the possibility of overcoming them also thanks to the ability of young people to become ambassadors of a new sensibility. The video sketches will be broadcast on the main channels social and made available on campaign website ( a real information platform, full of insights on prevention, lifestyles and green choices.

The One Health approach

The connection between the environment and health, with a view to a One Health approach, is also reaffirmed in National Oncology Plan 2023-2027, where it is expected to perfect environmental policies aimed at making cities healthier, strengthening sustainable mobility and air quality improvement actions, as well as promoting interventions for the prevention and reduction of environmental exposures (indoor and outdoor) and anthropogenic harmful to health. MSD’s choice to promote the campaign fits into this perspective, in line with the Sustainable Development goals indicated by the UN and included in the strategy ESG Environmental, Social and Governance of the company. “The key to this campaign is to focus on the idea that any unsustainable behavior damages one’s health and our planet at the same time, in line with our commitment, which does not end with the research and development of innovative therapeutic solutions , but it is also aimed at prevention and correct information, starting with our People: MSD Italia, in fact, is a completely ‘smoke free’ company that makes extensive prevention programs available to its employees”, he says Nicoletta Luppi, President and CEO of MSD Italia.

Comparing two generations

In the sketch series An (un)sustainable couple Pino Insegno and Martina Socrate are involved in a challenge that forces them to live together for a week: from the comparison between the ‘boomer’ and the ‘tiktoker’ on issues concerning sustainability, from smoking to a healthy lifestyle, from global warming to mobility urban, the generational transition towards increasingly green behavior emerges, which help the planet and favor the prevention of tumors and other important pathologies. “Talking to young people, educating young people to reach seniors: it seems like an oxymoron, but this is the reality – he says Pino I teach. “Through the social world, which speaks with the language of Generation Z, to inform them on the major issues of prevention and sustainability, to make it clear that there is a future that awaits them and that can be more beautiful, more just. And then they will teach it to us. I am very happy to have been involved in this initiative, even if I am not part of Generation Z but of Generation A, so I am ready to be amazed by young people, the world belongs to them”. An enthusiasm that intersects with that of the young woman Martina Socrates: “I was very happy to take part in this project together with Pino Insegno, primarily because the damage caused by smoking, but more generally health, are very important issues for me and for my entire generation. The second reason is that this campaign demonstrates how social networks are a great resource capable of exerting a positive influence not only on the youngest but also on the entire population, thanks to the resonance that the messages conveyed through these channels have”.

A platform to inform yourself and sketches to smile

The information point of reference for the campaign is the website where all the resources on the campaign themes will be available: the 6 video-sketches with Pino Insegno and Martina Socrate; the column “Maybe you don’t know that”, which explores the key themes of the campaign (active smoking, passive smoking, lifestyles, environmental pollution and sustainable mobility), combining information on human health and sustainability, to draw attention to the environmental impact; an insight into lung cancer, enriched by all the useful information, from symptoms to diagnosis, from the importance of psychological support to living with the disease.


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