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Oh Quit It, Trust Me I'm A Doctor!

Updated: Jul 19, 2022


by Pippa Starr

16 July 2022


Some Quit Smoking “Doctors” Noses Seem To Grow Longer Everyday!

“Look at me, I’m a real doctor, it says it in my name!”

Are you?


Fun Fact:

The “Pinocchio Effect” is a real thing and has been scientifically researched.


In 2016 Roger Collier released an interesting paper titled:

He says it best here:

“Two letters, one period, so much fuss.

Then again, this short combination of letters and punctuation is rather coveted.

It projects expertise and draws respect.

It indicates status, accomplishment, years of study.

It earns patients’ trust. It makes parents proud.

So perhaps it should be no surprise that more health care professionals want to see the honorific “Dr.” before their names.”


Let’s be real, the majority of the general population when they hear or see the “Dr” prefix before anyone’s name expect that person to be able to at least fill out a prescription, use a stethoscope and know how to read blood pressure, heck even nurses know how to do that.


However, there are some doctors that don’t even know how to perform first aid, let alone perform basic CPR! Wait What? Really?

I understand that the term Doctor is an academic level, but many don’t.

However, if someone has a career in health and are not a medical doctor,

they should be crystal clear about that, shouldn’t they?


Imagine this scene on your next plane flight:

an elderly person collapses on the floor mid-flight as a co-passenger yells with a loud voice,

“Is there a doctor on the plane?”


As the cabin crew frantically check their records to see if a “Doctor” is on the plane and go through the list of passengers:

“Oh look captain, there’s a Dr White in in Row 666!”


Naturally a leading cabin crew member would ask Dr White to help the poor elderly man who is unconscious in the aisle, only to be met with the following response:


“O so sorry,

I’m a Doctor of being a conversation analyst and qualitative clinical communication researcher specialising in researching and teaching communication between patients/consumers and clinicians/providers” ,

Dr White replies in this desperate time of need.


You can see this dark comedy scene unfold as the cabin crew radio’s to the captain,

“Sorry captain, she’s a only a doctor of analysing conversations” the crew member explains.

“What? The guy is collapsed on the floor and the doctor is a Dr of conversations?“ Oh FFS the captain shouts.

“Hang on Captain, Dr White is trying to explain something to me” explains the crew member.

Dr White explains further, “I do bespoke (ie. created for a situation) training using Conversation Analytic Roleplay Method, which can be conducted remotely via zoom.”


The crew member explains to the captain as the unconscious poor old man is now spread across the aisle,

“Captain, she says does some roleplay thingy’s via one of them zoom rooms”.


Naturally the captain loses his shit and approaches Dr White and says “listen here, are you a real doctor?”.

Dr White explains, “I am but……..”


Most people fairly expect when anyone who has the title of “Doctor”, especially in Australia, that person could help that elderly man in the aisle of the plane.

What if a doctor of the same credentials represented a major public health initiative that was set up to help curb the biggest public health crisis in history that kills more people than Covid 19. Ie smoking.


You would expect that person to be a real medical specialist, someone who has an amazing amount of real experience helping real people really quit smoking.

To Dr White’s credit, Quit Victoria, better known as Quitline has had some success in helping some people quit smoking.

Unfortunately, each year there is more people than the previous dying from a smoking related illness.

It’s estimated that over 20000 deaths from smoking will occur this year alone!


The most recent figures from AIHW show that the quantity of smokers utilising the Quitline service has shrunk down to an awfully low 1.8% of all smokers.

The service has been in freefall since 2010.


Why are people not quitting with this highly recommended and often touted service?

Their number is even on every pack of cigarettes!

A few reasons,

one major issue I see is that getting figures that are important from quit vic on how much success they have had in helping what quantity of people quit for good is like getting blood out of the proverbial stone.

There is simply not enough accountability or KPI expectations from most Australian taxpayers who fund this service.


The quitline may seem like they are an authoritative body to know all about how to quit smoking,

but while their dubious looking “take a walk with the dog” style quit methods may seem like great value on the surface, are they?


They are given millions upon millions of taxpayer’s monies to run a service that based on their recommended methods and known numbers would at best,

help less than 0.2% of smokers each year quit for good? Prove me wrong!

Time for a rethink?


In 2018 Dr White led an initiative in Victoria called “Target 2025” where she thought that the Victorian smoking population could decrease smoking to less than 5% by 2025.

Accurate current figures for the Victorian smoking prevalence in 2022 seem tight lipped, as there is a higher chance that a pig will perform a solo flight to the moon and back before Dr White’s initiative of reaching below 5% is accomplished.

The most recent figure was 12.9% in 2019 and it appears highly unlikely to even reach 10% by next year let alone 2025, that is if it’s left up to Dr White and the current Quitline to carry out the miracle.


The problem stems at Australian Government public health level.

Year after year Australia’s smoking rate stagnates to a point where Australia is no longer a world leader in reducing smoking rates.

The government keeps on doing the same old things relying on the same old circle of people to fail Australians who carry the cost burdens of over $135 billion dollars in lost economic activity and costs every year!


Many would fairly trust that a great “Doctor” would head up and lead an organisation that is meant to be the saving grace to help Australian smokers quit the darts for good.

Maybe it’s past time for a real medical doctor who really has real experience with real smokers to head up the organisation that has become as stale as a morgue full of dead smokers!


Similar Quitlines in countries that are seeing smoking rates in free fall, suggest vaping nicotine as a pathway out of smoking, yet here in Australia they encourage vapers to quit vaping stating in their position statement,

“People who vape (whether the vaping product contains nicotine or not) should be encouraged and helped to stop all vaping as soon as possible.”


“As soon as possible”?

That does not seem clear for current vapers that could risk a relapse to smoking.

On that level, that is clearly an irresponsible position to take, unless you are looking to fill morgues faster.


Despite the scare media campaigns of late, often led by those in fear of losing their failing taxpayer funded “quit Industry”,

vaping nicotine is actually a zero-death alternative to smoking that is at least 3x more effective than any other nicotine replacement product.


Vaping is a consumer product in every other country in the world, except Australia where a smoker must jump hoops to get a prescription from around 1% of doctors who might help them.


Vaping does come with some risk,

eg Average daily vaper consuming way less formaldehyde than what is acceptable in one litre of Australian tap water in a day.

The point is, there are some trace elements of metals ect as there is in tap water.

Don’t give up water though! Please keep showering, knowing that there is no risk to human health as you breath in that steam!


Over 100 million people across the world in 19 years, yet not one evidenced (with undeniable proof) case of death or a deadly disease caused by vaping nicotine, yet most have quit the smokes for good and are healthier!

Wait what?

In other words, the risks of vaping are monstrously exaggerated, as the comparative risk to health compared to smoking is less than 5% according to the most reliable science in the world.


What would I know? I am not a doctor, that is true, and nor do I pretend or roleplay to try and appear as one.

I do rely on real doctors, real science from people who assist real people in a far more efficient way than Australian Public Health does!


If you did too, Australia would be richer, less gullible and have less morgues full of dead bodies caused by smoking related illnesses, and less Pinocchio’s having their account filled with your tax money!


In Dr Whites words, “health professionals rarely refer patients who smoke to the Quitline”.

Have doctors have lost faith with Quitline?

I know a lot who have, I also know a lot of smokers who have too!


It’s past time for an overhaul and switch to far safer smoking alternatives at consumer level, as countries who see their smoking rates plummet do!


Just so you understand the seriousness of how Australian taxes go up in smoke, check out this gem below from the Quit CEO.

This was published in an indigenous health publication with Australian tax money and was her valuable contribution!

If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny, but this is beyond the joke!



*Edit.

It was kindly pointed out to me today that the link I mention above of a "Sarah White"

is actually another Dr Sarah White.

Sorry if any confusion caused but there in lies the point here.

Who is the real Sarah White and what are her credentials to rove around in a health space with DR in her title ready for people to make assumptions as if she is a relevant medical doctor in this space or not?


The best info about the Quit Director Is publicly accessible is via her linkedin account it seems.


She says:

"After completing a PhD in paediatric genetics (in Melbourne, Australia) and a stint as a post-doctoral breast cancer researcher (in London, UK), I retrained in public relations to pursue the credible and responsible communication of medical research, and later the strategic use of communications for public health.

For more than 10 years, I headed communications at two not-for-profit organisations: an international research institute (based in New York, USA) and Australia's leading women's hospital.

During this time I developed particular experience in stakeholder management,

and the development and implementation of new initiatives for not-for-profit,

health and medical research organisations.

I now head Quit Victoria, the nation's most comprehensive tobacco control program.

I am a leading media spokesperson on tobacco control in Australia."


Am I missing something?

Nowhere do I see her stating I have helped as many smokers as I could quit for good with a phenomenal world leading statistic.

Why not?

Wouldn't that be an achievement to be most proud of as a director for the organisation that sets out to achieve that very goal?


If you read on further on her Linkedin Title speech, her punchline achievement paragraph states:

"I have demonstrated success in identifying and delivering new business opportunities. I have secured multi-year funding commitments from the Victorian government and tendered successfully for the delivery of high profile statewide services in three new jurisdictions."


Why does she not highlight how many lives her outstanding skills put to work have helped and how many people live longer, rather than gloat how much tax she has been able to milk from government?

How many lives has she had a positive impact on, as a qualified health Dr?

Considering Dr White has been in the Quit-Director role since November 2014 till now, it might explain the decline of smokers calling the quitline in that timeframe?




It say's a lot about the focus of a person, especially when that is the first impression one is trying to make, don't you think?

If one can't be clear on what one has achieved and highlights how successful grabbing tax money is ahead of helping a defined quantity of real people,

then the question needs to be asked by Australian Taxpayers,

what the hell are we paying for?


Someone who is focused on :

"success in identifying and delivering new business opportunities"

or

saving as many lives as possible from the perils of smoking while utilising the best technology available with the highest rates of success?



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