Chapman and Daube Slammed By Politeness

Posted 29th April 2021 by Dave Cross
Australian “Anti-vaping pensioners” Simon Chapman and Mike Daube have been on the receiving end of a heavy dose of politeness as their shortcomings were pointed out by researchers. A leading harm reduction advocate said, “this should be used for training civil servants - ostensibly polite, larded with perfectly moderated scorn.”

In their paper (1) comparing the UK with Australia, Virginia Berridge et al. write: The United Kingdom and Australia have developed highly divergent policy responses to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). To understand the historical origins of these differences, we describe the history of tobacco control in each country and the key roles played in setting ENDS policy in its early stages by public health regulations and policy networks, anti‐smoking organizations, ‘vaper’ activist networks and advocates of harm reduction policies towards injecting drug use.”

An understanding of the different policy responses to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in England and Australia requires an appreciation of how actors within the different policy structures, scientific networks and activist organizations in each country and region have interpreted the evidence and the priority that policymakers have given to the competing goals of preventing adolescent uptake and encouraging smokers to use ENDS to quit smoking.”

Chapman and Daube have been accused of many things over the years due to their fast and loose treatment of evidence to support their opposition to vaping. They took umbrage at the paper’s portrayal of them, saying: “We write to express concern about errors.”

The 928-word letter (2) listed out Chapman and Daube’s (what a leading harm reduction advocate called) “pedantic non-points”.

Berridge, Hall, and Gartner responded in an impeccably measured fashion that simply served to show up Chapman and Daube for the fools they were.

We Vape

“They disputed our statement that they ‘… have publicly supported the sales ban on ENDS’ and noted the absence of supporting references. We cited two of their articles in which they strongly supported Australian e‐cigarette policy.

“In our article we explained why regulating electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) solely as medicines in Australia has effectively banned their sale.

Daube objected to being painted as opposed to tobacco harm reduction when in charge of ASH Australia. Again, the trio pointed out they cited appropriate references – Virginia Berridge's book Marketing Health and an article on ASH written for a festschrift for Charles Webster – neither of which the pair had a problem with since publication until this point.

We were puzzled by the claim that Simon Chapman was not ‘a proud founding member of BUGAUP’, given that he acknowledged his involvement in his book, Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History.”

Daube & Chapman claim that Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) has received funding from the UK‐based Knowledge–Action–Change (KAC) organization which, in turn, has received funding from a Philip Morris front group. We have not included this in the revisions because they provided no evidence for this claim.”

Cotton & Cable

And finally, “We thank Mike Daube & Simon Chapman for clarifying their contributions to the formulation of Australian ENDS policy.”

Retired men do have a penchant for writing complaint letters, but maybe it’s time for Mike Daube and Simon Chapman to try out a hobby to otherwise occupy their time.


  1. A first pass, using pre‐history and contemporary history, at understanding why Australia and England have such different policies towards electronic nicotine delivery systems, 1970s–c. 2018 -
  2. Correcting errors -
  3. Response to Daube & Chapman -

Statler and Waldorf cropped from original image by Rukia13 on Flickr

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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