Smoke Signals

Selected Writing

Simon Chapman

Regular price $40.00 Sale

Format: paperback
405 pages
ISBN: 9781921364594
Publication: 30 Nov 2016

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Read online: Open access
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Smoke Signals gathers 71 of Professor Simon Chapman’s authoritative, acerbic and often heretical essays from across his 40-year career. They cover major developments and debates in tobacco control, public health ethics, cancer screening, gun control, and panics about low risk agents such as wi-fi, mobile phone towers and wind turbines. This collection is an essential guide to many key debates in contemporary public health. It will be invaluable to public health students and practitioners, and provides compelling, entertaining reading for anyone interested in health policy.

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. Never say die?
2. The paradox of prevention
3. The commodification of prevention
4. A testing time for prostate
5. Prostate screening not worth it
6. Why do doctors keep silent about their own prostate cancer decisions?
7. How famous faces muddle the message on cancer
8. Patient consent in spectator surgery not the only consideration
9. Does celebrity involvement in public health campaigns deliver long-term benefit? Yes. 10. A nation of flashers should show some modesty
11. A long, winding road to end the carnage
12. Drink and drive? Not the publican’s problem
13. The AIDS myth that will not die
14. A shattering of glass in Tasmania
15. Gun lobby on shaky ground
16. Now, about those guns . . .
17. 150 ways (and counting) that the nanny state is good for us
18. Tardis travelling into David Leyonhjelm’s post-nanny state dystopia
19. Torture by omission
20. It’s the government’s call over phone tower debate
21. No, we’re not all being pickled in deadly radiation from smartphones and wi-fi
22. Wind turbine sickness prevented by the money drug
23. Wind turbine syndrome: a classic “communicated” disease
24. Questions a prominent windfarm critic needs to answer
25. Chilean earthquakes in Australia and other wacky myths from windfarm opponents
26. Let’s appoint a judge to investigate bizarre windfarm health claims
27. Tragedy puts values at threat
28. Charities to be seen but no longer heard?
29. Reflections on a 38-year career in public health advocacy: ten pieces of advice to early-career researchers and advocates
30. Unravelling gossamer with boxing gloves: problems in explaining the decline in smoking
31. The banality of tobacco deaths
32. Smokers spend, then pay with their lives
33. Death of a Fat Lady
34. Stop-smoking clinics: a case for their abandonment
35. The inverse impact law of smoking cessation
36. Quitting unassisted: the 50-year neglect of a major health phenomenon
37. Is it time to stop subsidising nicotine replacement therapies?
38. The ethics of the cash register: taking tobacco industry research dollars
39. Smoke screen
40. It’s smokers, better still those trying to quit, who should benefit
41. Corporate responsibility is fast becoming a smoke-free zone
42. The problem with selling a lethal product: you just can’t get the staff
43. International tobacco control should repudiate Jekyll and Hyde health philanthropy
44. When will the tobacco industry apologise for its galactic harms?
45. Pleased as Punch: interview with the tobacco industry
46. Smoking bastions set to crumble
47. Why even “wowsers” argue about smoke bans
48. How Santa and the Tooth Fairy collaborated to allow smoking at casino
49. Is a smoking ban in UK parks and outdoor spaces a good idea?
50. Are today’s smokers really more “hardened”?
51. Light cigarettes – deadly despite the name
52. Matter of smoke and hire
53. Butt clean-up campaigns: wolves in sheep’s clothing?
54. Silver screen lights up with a deadly hidden message
55. What should be done about smoking in movies?
56. Four arguments against the adult-rating of movies with smoking scenes
57. Factoids and legal bollocks in the war against plain packaging
58. The slow-burn, devastating impact of tobacco plain packaging
59. The case for a smoker’s licence
60. E-cigarettes: the best and the worst case scenarios for public health
61. Spotless leopards? Decoding hype on e-cigarettes
62. Ten myths about smoking that will not die
63. Ten more myths about smoking that will not die
64. Letters to editors
65. Bertrand Russell’s Why I am not a Christian: a book that changed me
66. Why do researchers donate their time and money to help private conference organisers make big bucks?
67. Why I block trolls on Twitter
68. Publishing horror stories: time to euthanase paper-based journals?
69. My mother’s death
70. Dying with dignity with dementia
71. Can academics ever retire?

Works cited

‘Anyone who has been named by the free-market Institute of Public Affairs as an opponent of freedom is worth reading.’
Steven Carroll   Sydney Morning Herald

‘Chapman is a former academic with the rare ability to turn a phrase until it catches the light and to shape an argument to devastating effect.’

Rama Gaind   PS News

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 22 mm
405 pages
4 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2016
ISBN: 9781921364594
Publication: 30 Nov 2016