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Quit smoking weapons of mass distraction. Sydney University Press (2022) FREE OPEN ACCESS e-book (4,397 accesses since Jul 25, 2022)  $40 paperback  

Pre-publication reviews

“In his always engaging and vivid style of prose, Simon Chapman provides a comprehensive exploration of the critical, yet often unsexy topic of quitting smoking. He brings his vast and varied academic expertise and real-world experiences, accumulated over his illustrious career, to this nuanced examination of how the greatest numbers of people truly quit smoking. This has clear implications for how to most rapidly and effectively bring an end to the massive, yet wholly preventable, tobacco-caused death and disease that the human race continues to endure.”

–– Joanna Cohen, Bloomberg Professor of Disease Prevention, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

“This is a splendid read for anyone interested in what really works to reduce smoking, and what helps to keep Big Tobacco in business. In Simon Chapman’s typically trenchant style, it tells you everything you want to know (and some people won’t want to know) about the myths and realities of smoking cessation and other aspects of tobacco policy. All this alongside lessons learned from a lifetime’s work on tobacco. Top class – don’t miss it.”

–– Mike Daube AO, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, Curtin University

“Simon Chapman’s latest book offers academic and non-academic readers a deep, provocative, historical, current and evidence-based perspective on elements influencing both smoking and the policies which drive it down. This stunning book should promote understanding of the complex relationships between tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, public health practitioners and public policy makers, and smokers who want and must decide how to quit.”

–– Esteve Fernández, Professor of Public Health, University of Barcelona, and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control, Catalan Institute of Oncology

“While the broad evidence that people change from problem drug or alcohol use mostly on their own is still met with scepticism, everybody knows ex-smokers from daily life experience who quit without professional help. Yet, the success stories of this majority of successful quitters and their lay strategies, which could motivate others and inspire population-level measures, are hardly part of the public discourse dominated by the disease concept. Simon Chapman addresses this blind spot and dissects convincingly the agenda of tobacco and treatment industries with their focus on discrediting self-change friendly policies regardless of empirical evidence. The book is an excellent manual to assist necessary changes of perspective and thinking out of the box. To be read before the patient information leaflet!”

–– Dr Harald Klingemann, Senior Research Fellow, Bern University of Applied Sciences

“‘I’m here to help you.’ Who could argue with that? But when people build a business model based on helping individuals, there is little incentive to get rid of the problem. Recent decades have seen the growth of a smoking cessation industry, dedicated to helping individuals quit. With the advent of e-cigarettes, this now includes tobacco producers themselves. Yet as Simon Chapman shows in his fascinating forensic analysis, a narrative has taken hold in tobacco control that is unsupported by evidence, and worse, is a distraction from tackling the real issue. This book will be essential reading, not just for the tobacco control community, but for anyone tackling trade in harmful commodities.”

–– Martin McKee CBE, Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Research Director European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, President British Medical Association

“The tobacco pandemic has resulted from a ‘ludicrous exceptionalist’ status for tobacco products that governments have wholly failed to address, while devoting endless resources to elaborate, well-intentioned efforts to convince, one by one, people who smoke that they must not try it alone and need ‘help’ to quit. Simon Chapman’s witty and well-argued book suggests cessation programs have perhaps made it even more difficult to become tobacco-free, while distracting from the real issue of better implementing what works to achieve further population-level reductions in tobacco use. There is something in this book for everyone who thinks critically about how to bring the tobacco pandemic to an end.”
–– Ruth Malone, Professor in Social Behavioral Sciences, University of California San Francisco. Editor Tobacco Control since 2009

“Simon Chapman has had a distinguished career in public health science, where he has been a strong advocate for both upstream policy and personal agency in behavior change at the population level. This book documents his two-decade struggle against those who argue that quitting smoking is so difficult that the only way that many smokers can quit is by switching to another source of nicotine – a business-friendly approach to cessation services. He documents how these advocates have consistently ignored the two-thirds of quitters who continue to achieve nicotine abstinence on their own. This book is a must read for those interested in the politicization of science.”

–– John Pierce, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California San Diego

“Simon Chapman is a giant in tobacco control. Fiercely empirical, he shows that Big Pharma has brainwashed too many of us into thinking that drugs are the only way to get off nicotine. Chapman is indispensable reading for anyone wanting to help the billion-odd smokers end their addiction. A powerful and important book!”

–– Robert Proctor Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University. Author of Golden Holocaust: origins of the cigarette catastrophe and the case for abolition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011

The first five books below are also available in (free) open access via the links, and for purchase in paperback form (click covers). Total accessed: 232,852 at Mar 1, 2023)

Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Communicated Disease. Simon Chapman and Fiona Crichton, Sydney University Press, 2017 (30,589 accessed) “Are wind farms a threat to human health? Public health expert Simon Chapman and health psychologist Fiona Crichton blow away the bad science, rumours and misinformation in an illuminating, fascinating and entertaining look at the makings of a health scare. “Tilting at windmills” is an analogy for the activities of those who passionately believe that wind farms are a threat to human health.  This book shows that these fears are not backed by persuasive evidence, and  that not all the critics have the grace and dignity of the original Windmill tilter, Don Quixote.”
Professor Sir Simon Wessely

President Royal Society of Medicine
Past President Royal College of Psychiatrists

Smoke Signals: Selected Writing, Simon Chapman, Darlington Press, 2016 (13,703 accessed) (”the rare ability to turn a phrase until it catches the light and to shape an argument to devastating effect…its contents are a pleasure, and lethal to intellectual bullshit. Frequently cutting, though never shrill or sarcastic, it’s an object lesson in how to argue well, and honestly, from sound academic principles” Richard King, The Australian Sept 2017)
Removing the Emperor’s Clothes: Australia and Tobacco Plain Packaging. Simon Chapman and Becky Freeman, Sydney University Press. 2014 (56,611 accessed) “In this book you get a great combination: a depth of policy detail that gives the text its credibility, the arms-race nature of the political battle that took place as big tobacco’s arguments called out for what they are, and Chapman’s sense of humour permeating right throughout.” Chris Picton MP [see here for summaries of the three failed legal cases BigTobacco brought against plain packs]
Over our Dead Bodies: Port Arthur and Australia’s Fight for Gun Control. Simon Chapman, Sydney University Press  (43,055 accessed) “The publication of this book confirms Simon Chapman’s place as Australia’s pre-eminent public health lobbyist and has lessons for every country in the world” Prof Fran Baum, ANZ J Public Health
Let Sleeping Dogs lie? What Men Should Know before Getting Tested for Prostate Cancer. Simon Chapman, Alexandra Barratt & Martin Stockler, Sydney University Press, 2010 (78,543 accessed)

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Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History. Simon Chapman, Oxford: Blackwell 2007 (“Throughout his career, Simon Chapman has accessed the field of tobacco control from 30,000 feet with some of the most penetrating insights academicians have to offer. Yet he’s also battled in the trenches, leading the troops in creative and intelligent assaults on a true Goliath of an enemy. A voracious consumer of everything Chapman authors, I was fascinated, educated, and occasionally entertained by this broad and deep “manual” of how to do tobacco control in the 21st century.”
Kenneth E. Warner, Dean School of Public Health, University of Michigan

The Last Right? Australians take sides on the right to die. Simon Chapman & Stephen Leeder (eds) Mandarin 1995 (6,091 accessed) [I have 2 copies for sale $A30.00 each]

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The Fight for Public Health: Principles and practice of media advocacy. Simon Chapman & Deborah Lupton. BMJ Publishing Group, 1994. Out of print. Try Abebooks (“We would send out a book list, of two books. The first [would be] Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. The second would be The Fight for Public Health. This under used book … shows how a little understanding of media processes becomes a powerful tool for public health – from article in Lancet 1998;351:1596 on how doctors can better communicate with the public.)

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Tobacco Control in the Third World: a resource atlas. Simon Chapman & Wong Wai Leng.  International Organization of Consumers’ Unions. 1990 [I have 2 copies for sale $A50 each]


Great Expectorations: Advertising and the tobacco industry. Simon Chapman. London:Comedia, 1986. Out of print. Try Abebooks [I have 3 copies for sale $A60 each]


The Lung Goodbye: a manual of tobacco tactics for counteracting the tobacco industry in the 1980s.  Simon Chapman. International Organization of Consumers’ Unions, 1986. (“A rather paranoid and disturbing `contribution’ by an Australian called Simon Chapman” – Philip Morris operative report) [I have 2 copies for sale $A60.00 each]