For years celebrities have endorsed health cause. For instance, Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has become an advocate for Parkinson's disease research. Nevertheless, there has always been a debate whether celebrity involvement in public health campaigns can lead to positive long term benefits.

There are many health experts who are opposed to celebrity involvement in public health campaigns.

According to Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, people are opposed to celebrity involvement because of the instances things have " gone badly wrong or which fail to change the world forever." But, Chapman believes celebrity endorsement can bring personal and compelling authenticity to public health issues.

"They are silent about the many examples of celebrity engagement that have massively amplified becalmed news coverage about important neglected problems or celebrity involvement in advocacy campaigns to promote evidence based health policy reform," he said.

Chapman also points out that society expects perfect results following celebrity endorsements.

For instance, cricketer Shane Warne accepted a six figure sum to use nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking. Yet, when pictures surfaced with Warne smoking again, critics were too focused on his alleged motives, rather than discussing the risks of relapsing.

Chapman also points out the positive effects of singer Kylie Minogue's battle with breast cancer. The "Kylie effect," as it is often referred to, led to an unprecedented increase in breast cancer screening. Conversely, there were large amounts of women at very low risk requesting mammograms, which led to unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Other health experts such as Geof Rayner, Former Chair of the UK Public Health Association and Honorary Research Fellow at City University London, warn against the celebrities becoming the story rather than the campaign itself.

Though celebrities are often used in health and political campaigns, Rayner believes new measures are needed to promote public health. He suggests "bringing together the lobbying power of thousands of ordinary people through the internet.

The findings were published in the British Medical Journal.