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Simon Chapman (academic)

Simon Fenton Chapman, AO (born 14 December 1951) is an Australian academic and tobacco control activist.

Life and careerEdit

Chapman was born in Bowral, New South Wales to Margaret and Alec Chapman who had emigrated from England in 1948. He is an Emeritus Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney.[1] In his PhD in social medicine he examined the semiotics of cigarette advertising.[2] He has authored 21 books and major reports, 339 papers and editorials, and 191 letters and commentaries in peer reviewed journals.

Chapman is a regular writer on public health matters in leading Australian newspapers and blogs, having written some 375 opinion page and journalistic articles since 1981.[3] His main research interests are in tobacco control, media discourses on health and illness, and risk communication. He taught annual courses in Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control in the University of Sydney's MPH program. He wrote a regular column, Smoke Signals, on public health matters for The Conversation from January 2015-August 2017 which by June 2019 had been read 3.263 million times. He blogs at

In 1997 Chapman won the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day Medal; in 1999, the National Heart Foundation of Australia's gold medal; in 2006 the Thoracic Society of Australia & New Zealand President's Award.[4] In 2003 he was voted by his international peers to be awarded the American Cancer Society's Luther L. Terry Award for outstanding individual leadership in tobacco control.[5] In 2005, his research on the tobacco industry was selected by the National Health and Medical Research Council as being one of its "top 10" projects. He was foundational deputy editor of the British Medical Journal's specialist journal, Tobacco Control, and its editor from 1999 to 2008. He was Tobacco Control's commissioning editor for Low and Middle Income Countries from 2008–2010 and is now editor emeritus.

Chapman studied health complaints regarding wind farms in Australia in 2012 and concluded the complaints were likely to be the result of nocebo effects.[6][7]

In 2008 he was awarded the $50,000 NSW Premier's award for Cancer Researcher of the Year, voted to become a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, won the Public Health Association of Australia's Sidney Sax medal,[8] and was included in the Sydney Morning Herald's Sydney Magazine list of 100 of Sydney's most influential people. He appeared in that magazine's list again in 2012. In 2013 he was given a Distinguished Professorial Award by the faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney and made an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians (UK).

Simon Chapman is a life member of the Australian Consumers' Association and was its chairman 1999–2002. He served on the board of The Cancer Council New South Wales for nine years until 2006. He was a key member of the Coalition for Gun Control which won the 1996 Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Community Human Rights award for its advocacy for gun law reform after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. The Australian Skeptics Inc conferred on him the award of Australian Skeptic of the Year in 2013.[9]

He was a staff elected Fellow of Senate,[10] at the University of Sydney from 2007–2011. He was a board member of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) from 1996–2013.

He was lead singer with a Sydney-based rock covers band, the Original Faux Pas,[11] from 2007–2012 and then with The Bleeding Hearts.[12]

He tweets @simonchapman6.[13]

Chapman was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia on 10 June 2013.[14]

He retired in January 2016 and was awarded Emeritus Professor status by the University of Sydney commencing 2016.[15]

In December 2017, Public Health England accused him of presenting factual errors during a Federal Government Enquiry[16] His full reply to these claims was published in Hansard (submission 313.1[17]

Selected booksEdit

  • Chapman, S. (2017) Wind turbine syndrome: a communicated disease. (Sydney, Sydney University Press)[18]
  • Chapman, S. (2016) Smoke signals: selected writing. (Sydney, Darlington Press)[19]
  • Chapman, S, Freeman B. (2014) Removing the emperor's clothes: tobacco plain packaging in Australia. (Sydney, Sydney University Press)[20]
  • Chapman, S, Barratt A, Stockler M.(2010) Let sleeping dogs lie? What men should know before getting tested for prostate cancer. (Sydney, Sydney University Press)[21]
  • Chapman, S. (2007) Public health advocacy and tobacco control: making smoking history (Oxford, Blackwell)
  • Chapman, S. (1998) Over our dead bodies: Port Arthur and Australia's fight for gun control (Sydney, Pluto Press). Reprinted 2013 by Sydney University Press[22]
  • Chapman, S. (1995) The last right?: Australians take sides on the right to die (Sydney: Mandarin)
  • Chapman, S. & Lupton, D. (1994) The fight for public health: principles and practice of media advocacy (London, BMJ).
  • Chapman, S. (1990) Tobacco in the third world: a resource atlas (International Organisation of Consumers' Unions).
  • Chapman, S. (1986) Great expectorations: advertising and the tobacco industry (London: Comedia).
  • Chapman, S. (1983) The lung goodbye: tactics for counteracting the tobacco industry in the 1980s (International Organisation of Consumers' Unions).


  1. ^ "Professor Simon Chapman - The University of Sydney". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. ^ Australian Health News Research Collaboration (AHNRC)
  3. ^ "Curriculum vitae: Simon Chapman" (PDF). University of Sydney. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  4. ^ TSANZ President's Award[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ American Cancer Society's 2003 Luther L. Terry Award Winners
  6. ^ Chapman, Simon; St. George, Alexis; Waller, Karen; Cakic, Vince (2013). "The Pattern of Complaints about Australian Wind Farms Does Not Match the Establishment and Distribution of Turbines: Support for the Psychogenic, 'Communicated Disease' Hypothesis". PLoS ONE. 8 (10): e76584. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076584. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3797792. PMID 24146893.
  7. ^ Lenore Taylor (15 March 2013). "Wind turbine sickness 'all in the mind': study". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Sidney Sax Public Health Medal". Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Chiropractors win joint Bent Spoon". Australian Skeptics Inc. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Current Fellows of Senate - Senate - The University of Sydney". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  11. ^ "The Original Faux Pas". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  12. ^ "The Bleeding Hearts". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Simon Chapman AO (@SimonChapman6)". 17 February 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2013". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Award-winner Prof Simon Chapman retires". Australian Skeptics Inc. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Wind turbine syndrome: a communicated disease" (PDF). Sydney University Press. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Smoke signals:selected writing" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Removing the emperor's clothes" (PDF). Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  21. ^ "SUP eStore :: Let sleeping dogs lie? What men should know before getting tested for prostate cancer". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  22. ^ "The Sydney eScholarship Repository: Over our dead bodies: Port Arthur and Australia's fight for gun control". 14 February 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2015.

External linksEdit