Sydney's smoking gun
30 August 2007
Strident anti-tobacco campaigner Simon Chapman launched his new book, Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History last night, with the help of former NSW premier Bob Carr.
Professor Chapman, who teaches public health, is one of Australia's best-known anti-tobacco lobbyists. Winner of the coveted Luther Terry Medal for his outstanding contribution to the anti-smoking community in 1997, Chapman manages to bridge the gap between the academy and public policy.
As he launched the book, Bob Carr reflected on his early days in Parliament, when "plumes of smoke routinely escaped from the guttural breaths and yellow-stained fingers of almost everyone in the room".
Carr praised Chapman's bravery in raising public awareness of the dangers of smoking, and for his work in 'denormalising' smoking itself.
"For a long time, I think many of us were afraid to offend smokers by stigmatising the act of smoking. But if we are going to dispense with smoking altogether, this is what we need to do."
Chapman, who was once a smoker himself, focuses largely on strategies to combat the tobacco industry in his new book. He is particularly dismissive of the 'harm reduction' tactics of tobacco companies, such as alternatives to cigarettes. He argues that, while substitutes work for the industry, as they provide customers with nicotine but pose reduced health risks, these products merely perpetuate the desire to smoke cigarettes, as nicotine is highly addictive.
Chapman also studies the uses of smoking imageryin his book.
"Obviously I believe that imagery about smoking, for instance, in films,can influence the uptake of smoking.
"But to go to the next step and say that people in public health ought always to be saying, 'No, we can't show people enjoying fatty foods, or lusting about guns, or driving fast cars' - that's just silly."
Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History(Blackwell, $89.95) was launched last night in conjunction with The Co-Op Bookshop at the Burkitt-Ford Library.
Contact: Lauren Smelcher
Phone: 02 9351 7595