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Curtin Professor celebrates 40 years in public health campaigning

Media release

Internationally recognised public health advocate Professor Mike Daube this year celebrates his fourth decade campaigning for tobacco control and public health reforms around the world.

Professor Daube, Curtin University’s Professor of Health Policy, has won numerous awards including the American Cancer Society’s Luther Terry Distinguished Career Award, the National Heart Foundation’s Kempson Maddox Award, the World Health Organisation’s Tobacco Medal, the Public Health Association’s Sydney Sax Public Health Medal, and the American Medical Association’s and Thoracic Society’s Presidents’ Awards.

He is Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth at Curtin, and the Public Health Advocacy Institute, President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, and Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket said Curtin congratulated Professor Daube on the enormous contribution and commitment he had made over the years as a public health advocate.

“He is an inspiration to our staff, students and the wider community on the power of passionately following something that you believe in,” Professor Hacket said.

Professor Daube began his career campaigning against Big Tobacco in 1973 in the United Kingdom as Director of Action on Smoking and Health. He was then a senior health lecturer at Edinburgh University before moving to Western Australia in 1984 where he led State Government public health and health promotion initiatives for many years.

He led action on tobacco and other public health issues nationally and internationally, including the campaigns that led to the 1991 tobacco advertising ban. Professor Daube cites his involvement in the introduction of plain cigarette packaging in Australia, which resulted from the Federal Government’s expert committee that he chaired, as one of the biggest successes with which he has been involved.

“At a time when young people grow up without seeing tobacco advertisements, cigarettes are in plain packaging, protection from passive smoking is the norm, and Big Tobacco is a pariah industry, it is hard to imagine how tough things were 40 years ago,” Professor Daube said.

“The end of smoking in Australia is now an achievable target, but we cannot be complacent. Smoking remains our largest preventable cause of death, and this year six trillion cigarettes will be sold globally, causing six million deaths. We can also learn a lot from tobacco for areas such as alcohol and obesity.”

“It has been an enormous privilege to work with so many wonderful colleagues. The history of tobacco control shows that health-based coalitions can succeed if we keep working together to get our message across and recognise that success takes time,” Professor Daube said.