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Should we regulate smoking in movies?

Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, writes: There is an international push in tobacco control circles for regulation of the film industry in response to growing evidence on the association of smoking scenes in movies with teenage smoking uptake. Thailand now pixilates smoking and there has been big momentum in […]

Will we act on global poverty, climate change and the rest?

Professor Stephen Leeder, director of The Australian Health Policy Institute, responds to a recent Crikey article by Fran Baum and colleagues calling for international action on global poverty: “It was said of the Australian cricket team during several of the ill-fated Ashes series in the 1980s that repeatedly it ‘seized defeat from the jaws of […]

Is the new binge drinking campaign a backward step?

Dr Alex Wodak, Director, Alcohol and Drug Service, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, says so: “The Federal government’s recently announced national media campaign to reduce high risk drinking among young people is a backward step. Like many previous similar campaigns, we are promised that this education campaign will be part of a comprehensive package. […]

Missing in action

This has been such a week of missed opportunity. The headlines have been dominated by the Feds urging a local government spend on infrastructure – and fast. It was a perfect opportunity for the public health crowd to highlight the importance of local government as agents of health. So much of our public debate about […]

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Debate and discussion about health issues and policy

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Should journalists accept awards funded by drug companies?

The financial ties between drug companies and journalists are scrutinised in the latest British Medical Journal by American medical academics Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin, and Australian journalist Ray Moynihan. The authors suggest that journalism educators should not accept funding from the healthcare and drug industries, that journalists should not accept gifts, awards, or any […]

Academics as journalists?

Some journalists (and quite possibly some academics too) might not appreciate this suggestion, but every now and then I come across an academic publication and think, “what a wonderful piece of journalism”. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. The best of journalistic practice – a willingness to challenge accepted wisdoms, to investigate […]

The media as scientific cheer squad

The news that Australian scientists are “on the verge” of developing a skin cancer vaccine has consumed significant amounts of prime-time media space in the past few days. It’s even made international headlines. This has all been superb publicity for the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, where the work was due to be presented […]

Redistributing health?

It strikes me that the global economic meltdown is creating one of those “is the glass half full or half empty?” moments. Governments are talking up the need for public spending, investment and infrastructure development as part of efforts to kickstart economies. As Fran Baum and colleagues point out in Crikey today, it’s a critical […]

Penance

The penance for an extended holiday is returning to more than a metre of reading of the latest medical news. And what a depressing read it is. On one hand, there are the usual stories of outrage from various medical leaders and organisations: how dare anyone presume to step onto our professional turf? On the […]