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Publisher's Summary

The folks that bring you Marlboro - Philip Morris - are wheezing, slowly dying. Cigarettes are out of favour with everyone, from world governments and investors to, increasingly, smokers. So, what's their plan? 

Prepare to be dazzled. Or, at the very least, befuddled. 

Philip Morris has announced they will shut down as a cigarette company, and relaunch as a health enterprise, dedicated to convincing the one billion smokers of the world to quit. 

The ever-curious John Safran leaves his apartment to find out what on God's green earth is going on. As he starts digging away he discovers a company up to brand-new shenanigans, wangling their way into unexpected places, desperately trying to keep their tobacco business alive by brandishing a mysterious new doohickey called an IQOS.

And not only that, now they're upending language itself, changing the meaning of words. Will they slip past bans by convincing governments they don't sell 'cigarettes' but rather 'HeatSticks', and that these don't emit 'smoke' but 'aerosol'? Can John get the real story out of them without his life catching fire? 

Wild, hilarious and thought-provoking, Puff Piece is a probing look into Big Tobacco and the vaping industry, and how words can be literally a matter of life and death.

©2021 John Safran (P)2021 Penguin Random House Australia

What listeners say about Puff Piece

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Safran (Lucky) Strikes Again

As a long time fan of John Safran, I found this title to be an outstanding change of pace in terms of subject matter while still staying true to his roots. It's got Father Bob, it's got Raspberry Cordial, it's got John's classic self doubt despite his being, to my mind, well established in his credentials. While I hope he never loses that charming angst, the quality of this book challenges the validity of his concerns.

An utterly shocking piece diving deep into Philip Morris and their seeming invulnerability through manipulation of language and seeming involvement in every aspect of our society. Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a take down of why smoking is bad for you, this is about corporate conspiracy and it's happening right now (written 2021).

John's shock at the lack of media coverage of what has gone on is surely shared by us, dear listeners, by the time the book is through. Actually way before that, but definitely by the end.

I've listened to all John's books and while I've enjoyed them all, this is by far the most important. Fundamentalists and Murders in Mississippi have nothing on big tobacco.

Read by the man himself, this is the only way to really enjoy anything by John in my opinion. The man with the golden lisp. If you love John, you've already got this book - if you're new then this is a fantastic place to start.

As a side note, I weirdly found myself wanting to vape after the first hour or so of the book, and I'm not a smoker, vapist or juicy fruiter. Maybe I'll suck my thumb instead.

8 people found this helpful

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Classic Safran

John saffron is back in fine form delving into a world that I would’ve thought nothing about but now I’m fascinated bye

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honestly the best audio book I've heard all year

I couldn't stop playing, this book had me hooked from the first few minutes. John Safran delivers in such an entertaining and captivating way, with the perfect amount of sarcasm and outrage. I highly recommend!

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Much Needed & Hilarious

I’ve dug so deep for info about vaping and the industry since it helped me kick my 25 year cigarette addiction over 6 months ago. I’ve searched podcasts, articles, you name it. This is really the best resource I’ve found and it all makes more sense since listening. Bonus: I discovered John Safran who is pretty rad!

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Philip Morris: International Juul Thief

Relatives of Edward Sapir may not like this book; however, Bob redeems linguistic merit where necessary. Thanks John.

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I want my ringtone to be John Saffron saying Fatwa

ever since John Saffron appeared in Race Around the World I have immensely enjoyed his take on controversy. This book points out the ludicrous tactics of the tobacco industry to convince consumers that they are the hapless middle man between us and our desires. Its informative and insightful and it also leaves even the most conservative right wing person feeling like we are all getting duped (heck, by any company who can afford a lobbyist).
I miss seeing this guy on our screen and hearing his familiar voice. I don't know if anyone gets him more than my generation but I think he's a genuine national treasure. I have one "burning" question - did John dump his PM shares?!?!

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Corporations don't care about you

Loved it. Well told and never boring. Journalist Safran makes us understand the issues well.

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Very good

Safran does a great job in making a complex issue entertaining and enlightening. Very good insight into the subtleties. John is also an entertaining reader. Don’t miss this one!

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Brilliant entertaining rambling meandering safran

at his best with a superb amount of darling Father Bob. Checking my investments!

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Fantastic and recommended

I’ve never smoked anything, yet this had me intrigued from the get-go!
I’ve loved John’s work since his Triple J days with Father Bob and his narration of his own book was amazing, I’m not good with words, I just cannot recommend this book enough, john’s intelligence and investigation into this subject blew me away! I’ve said enough, just listen to it!
Thanks John, I loved every second of it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mysterio
  • 04-03-2022

Entertaining but meandering

This probably could have been a long essay rather than a whole book. It was entertaining enough but didn't really go anywhere in the end.

I'm still none the wiser about how safe the fire sticks or other vaping devices are

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  • Brendan
  • 16-09-2021

Excellent Blend of Comedy and Journalism

So much fun, and so interesting!
This is the most enjoyable non-fiction I’ve read/listened-to in a long time. While primarily focussed on Philip Morris, the content expands into so many compelling areas; such as language, lobbying, law, semantics, corporations, generational concerns, apathy and moral culpability. And the whole time the book is hilarious - John Safran is interested in the inconsistencies and complicated aspects to any issue, but also always finds a way to make hilarious! Self-deprecation mixed with political and social insight.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.