Only eight more years to go to 2025: Time for the NZ Government to step up its tobacco endgame

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Frederieke Sanne van der Deen, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Christine Cleghorn, Dr Linda Cobiac, Dr Giorgi Kvizhinadze, Dr Nhung Nghiem, Prof Tony Blakely

We have eight more years to go until 2025 – the year of the NZ Government’s Smokefree goal. NZ is not on track to achieve this goal, especially not for Māori. In this blog we discuss the findings of our just published study in Tobacco Control, where we have estimated the future impacts of a range of proposed novel and substantive strategies that may accelerate the reduction in smoking prevalence (ie, ‘tobacco endgame strategies’). We find that some endgame strategies could achieve NZ’s Smokefree goal, deliver large health gains and cost-savings, and could largely reduce the ethnic gap in tobacco-related health inequalities.

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New Standardised Packaging Regulations: Some good steps, but many missed opportunities

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Professor Janet Hoek and Professor Philip Gendall

The NZ Government’s recently released Standardised Packaging Regulations contain some important advances over Australia’s legislation, but they also miss opportunities to recognise tobacco industry innovations. This blog discusses changes that establish a new benchmark and why these are important, but also examines how the regulations could have gone further and suggests measures that other countries might consider including as they develop their standardised packaging policies.

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Can pandemic threats justify border closure for island nations like NZ?

Monday, June 26th, 2017 | hensa32p | No Comments

Professor Nick Wilson, Dr Matt Boyd, Dr Osman Mansoor, Professor Michael G Baker

Countries prepare for future pandemic risks because of pandemic influenza, novel emerging infectious agents and possible synthetic bioweapons. In a study we just published in a journal, we explored the costs and benefits of complete border closure in NZ in response to new pandemic threats. We found that there were some very severe pandemic scenarios where rapid closure of NZ’s border could provide overall societal benefit – even with the disruptions it would cause to tourism and trade.

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Open data, transparency and power – role of the Virtual Health Information Network

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Dr Andrea Teng, Dr Barry Milne, Mr Philip Walker, Prof Tony Blakely

The NZ Government is showing strong leadership on data sharing. In this blog we describe some of the opportunities and the challenges in this new data environment. We focus on how the Virtual Health Information Network (VHIN) can contribute to stronger health research and therefore benefit the health of all New Zealanders. The VHIN is a network of health data users, especially in the Statistics NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure, looking to support each other and improve the quality of ‘big data’ research in NZ. We highlight the benefits of VHIN membership and how you can contribute.

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Ethnic inequalities in mortality in NZ and how to reduce them further

Monday, May 29th, 2017 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Dr George Disney, Dr Andrea Teng, June Atkinson, Frederieke Sanne van der Deen, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Tony Blakely 

In a study we just published, we found that whilst there have been declines in all-cause mortality rates, over time, for Māori, Pacific peoples and the European/Other ethnic group, there are still striking mortality gaps that need to be addressed. Ethnic mortality inequalities are generally stable or even falling in absolute terms, but have increased on a relative scale. To further address these inequalities, NZ policy-makers have many options, ranging from equalising socio-economic factors between ethnic groups, improving access to health services, tobacco control and addressing the obesogenic environment.

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