‘Internet vermin’ target health advocates

The Curtin University professor, who chaired the committee that recommended plain packaging of tobacco in Australia, says the vitriol dished out by nameless attackers could have a chilling effect on individuals’ readiness to speak out about the health impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other social ills.

“I do think it’s getting to the stage where people in public health are at risk of being intimidated out of it,” Professor Daube told Medical Observer.

“I have certainly been the target of very unpleasant blogs, tweets and direct emails, replete with [obscene language]. It’s no fun having those coming into your inbox.”

He cited the example of a young Australian researcher who stopped commenting publicly about electronic cigarettes after being lashed by “internet vermin”.

“We want to encourage more young people into public health, but if they