Mike Daube Tobacco Control and Public Health Collection
Articles,  Blog

Mike Daube Tobacco Control and Public Health Collection

Most of the papers really date from around
1973 and then take you through pretty much to the present time, to more recent times. Advocacy, which I guess I’ve been involved
in for so long, when it started it was amateur. We were trying things out, that’s all. Now it’s become a serious discipline—if
anything, it’s become a serious academic discipline. We know so much more about what needs to be
done. And whereas in the earlier days universities
were just places where the scientific research was done, demonstrating the harms and so on,
now they’re places from which a lot of the serious campaigning is based, where the evidence,
policy-related research is being done—didn’t happen in those earlier days. They’re doing useful work to show how we
can influence governments, and research that will demonstrate to governments the importance
of what they can achieve. Overall, it gives you a pretty comprehensive
journey through nearly 50 years of advocacy in health and social areas, with a particular
focus on tobacco. And why is tobacco important? Because first, it’s our largest preventable
cause of death and disease, but second, tobacco advocacy is seen as a model for advocacy in
so many other areas. So I hope people will get a picture from this
that it’s never easy; you get as many losses as you get wins, but you can get progress
if you stay with it. What you also see is the importance of coalitions
and amazing colleagues. Nobody can do this sort of work in isolation. In the UK, we had terrific coalitions and
I was involved in those in tobacco, in alcohol, and in public health more broadly. Here in Australia, particularly in WA, we’ve
had fabulous coalitions and you also see the politicians who had the courage to act. I hope that this will be useful of course
to people working on tobacco and on the history of tobacco and tobacco advocacy, but also
simply to people working on public health and on advocacy and on how to make a difference,
especially when you’re up against tough opposition. So I hope it will give some help to some of
those people; it’ll show them what some of the obstacles are but will also show them
that you can make progress. When people look back in 50 years’ time,
there’ll be absolute incredulity that we had to battle so hard to prevent something
that even now is killing eight million people around the world each year. It’s absolutely preventable. And I guess what this collection is about
is how you can work, even as individuals, as small organisations and as academics, and the
contribution you can make to saving lives, millions at a time. I hope that people will be able to add to
this. There should be a lot of material, not just
in Western Australia but nationally. There’s more material than I’m aware of. There’s some that’s archived in the UK
and I think it would be great if we could get that added in as well. So yes, I think, you know there isn’t really
a good collection elsewhere in Australia that I’m aware of. There isn’t really a good collection that
gives you this sort of progress through this form of public health advocacy, so it’s
terrific that it’s being established here and I hope that we can keep adding to it.

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