Quit Smoking Weapons of Mass Distraction

Simon Chapman

Regular price $50.00 Sale

Format: paperback
380 pages
ISBN: 9781743328538
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.30722/sup.9781743328538
Publication: 01 Jul 2022
Series: Public and Social Policy Series
Publisher: Sydney University Press

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Who keeps telling smokers they can’t quit without help?

For decades there have been far more ex-smokers than smokers, and an estimated 75% of smokers quit without drugs or professional help.

But smoking cessation is a global phenomenon serviced by multibillion-dollar industries, including the pharmaceutical and e-cigarette sectors and health professionals. These industries try to denigrate unassisted cessation and promote their products and services – “weapons of mass distraction” – as essential to successful quitting.

This contributes to the medicalisation of a process that, before these products were available, had a natural history where drugs and expertise were absent, yet millions of people around the world still quit.

Simon Chapman AO is one of Australia’s foremost experts on strategies to minimise harm from tobacco. In Quit Smoking Weapons of Mass Distraction, he reviews the early history of quitting smoking and the rise of assisted quitting, and gives insight into the forces that have tried to undermine smokers’ agency to stop. Chapman also provides actionable policy solutions to help people actually quit smoking.

"This is a splendid read for anyone interested in what really works to reduce smoking, and what helps to keep Big Tobacco in business." — Mike Daube AO, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, Curtin University

"Chapman is indispensable reading for anyone wanting to help the billion-odd smokers end their addiction. A powerful and important book!" — Robert N. Proctor, Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University

Simon Chapman is professor emeritus of public health at the University of Sydney. In 2013 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions to public health.


  1. How do most people quit other addictions?
  2. How we study quitting smoking: a critical look
  3. Quitting unassisted: before and after "evidence-based" methods
  4. The modest impact of most popular interventions
  5. "Don't try to quit cold turkey"
  6. Vaping to quit: the latest mass distraction
  7. Insights from qualitative research with unassisted quitters
  8. Strategies for reducing smoking across populations
  9. Controlling tobacco supply and the endgame

"Likely the most critical smoking cessation cross-examination ever ... Chapman uses Quit Smoking: Weapons of Mass Distraction to educate readers as to the quality of quitting evidence, including a review of common study biases."

John R. Polito   WhyQuit.com

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 mm
380 pages
b&w illustrations and b&w tables
Copyright: © 2022
ISBN: 9781743328538
Publication: 01 Jul 2022
Series: Public and Social Policy Series