Anti-tobacco hero in the running for Australian of the Year
10 November 2008
Tireless anti-tobacco campaigner and Sydney University Professor of Public Health Simon Chapman has been named as a NSW finalist in the 2009 Australian of the Year awards.
Professor Chapman is one of just four finalists from NSW in competition for the state title, which if he wins would qualify him to be considered for the honour of Australian of the Year.
The other NSW finalists are surfing legend Layne Beachley, netball great Liz Ellis and former cricketer Glenn McGrath.
Professor Chapman said he was honoured by being named a finalist and hoped it would help him continue to "make smoking history" both in Australia and internationally.
"Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia despite tobacco control measures reducing the male death rate to a level last seen in 1963," Professor Chapman said. "The tragedy is that it is a cancer that we know how to almost completely prevent."
Professor Chapman has just returned from China where he has been advising Chinese university scholars on how to teach and research tobacco control. He has been asked to be the senior reviewer for curriculum for the subject to be taught to all medical students in every medical school in China, as part of a half billion dollar global project supported by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and IT legend and philanthropist Bill Gates.
Based at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health, Professor Simon Chapman has lobbied for thirty years against the powerful tobacco industry. Smoking is at is lowest level ever recorded for men, women and teenagers.
In December he completes a 17-year term editing Tobacco Control, the world's leading research journal in the area.
In 2003 Professor Chapman was listed in The Bulletin's top 10 smartest, most innovative and creative people in the field of health and medicine. In 2008 he was awarded the $50,000 NSW Premier's award for Cancer Researcher of the Year and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia.
Graduates of the University that were nominated in the same round include thespian John Bell (nominated for NSW Senior Australian of the Year), Captain Paul Moulds, Director of Oasis in Sydney, a centre for homeless and disadvantaged youth and Dr Jamal Rifi, founding member of Muslim Doctors Against Violence and the Christian Muslim Friendship Society (both nominated as NSW Local Hero).
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