The Public Health Expert blog is moving!

Monday, February 13th, 2023 | cooju60p | No Comments

The Public Health Expert Blog is being retired after more than a decade of providing insight and commentary from leading voices in public health.

But don’t despair. The blog has been rebranded into the Public Health Expert Briefing and is now managed by the Public Health Communication Centre, based at the University of Otago, Wellington.

The Briefing will continue the blog’s legacy of providing timely and credible information on Aotearoa New Zealand’s most pressing public health issues.  You can keep up with new articles published on The Briefing by subscribing here.

All previous blog articles are also now archived on the new Briefing website. And any changes made to this website will ensure that existing links are redirected to archived versions of previous blog posts on the Briefing website.

Proposals to reduce youth vaping: Important steps but a more comprehensive approach needed

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 | Nick Wilson | 2 Comments

Janet Hoek, Jude Ball, Richard Edwards, Anna Graham-DeMello*

As part of the consultation process to denicotinise cigarettes and reduce the number of stores selling tobacco, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has outlined proposals to strengthen vaping product regulation. Noting that: “youth vaping rates are too high and we need to strike a better balance”, she has requested feedback on three additional measures: proximity restrictions for specialist vape retailers, disallowing evocative flavour names, and introducing new requirements for disposable vapes, including a reduction in the maximum nicotine concentration permitted. These proposals will help protect young people from aggressive vape marketing, but do they go far enough? In this blog, we explore additional measures that could more comprehensively regulate vaping product design and packaging, pricing, availability and promotion.

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NZ’s Draft National Security Long-term Insights Briefing: One part of a national risks assessment that should include pandemics and other global catastrophes

Thursday, December 15th, 2022 | cooju60p | No Comments

Matt Boyd, Ben Payne, Nick Wilson*

The Draft NZ National Security Long-term Insights Briefing (LTIB) has recently been produced by the NZ Government. In this blog we discuss its merits and how the process could be further advanced. In particular there is a need to: (i) improve future iterations of the public survey (eg, the next one in February/March 2023); (ii) signal a move towards an integrated and comprehensive National Risks Assessment; and (iii) explicitly articulate the extreme tail risks of each major trend identified in the LTIB (ie, nuclear war, unaligned artificial intelligence, extreme climate change, and catastrophic pandemics).

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Key findings for smoking and e-cigarette use prevalence and trends in the 2021/22 NZ Health Survey: continued rapid falls in smoking prevalence and increases in vaping

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022 | cooju60p | 1 Comment

Richard Edwards, Jude Ball, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa*

New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) data was released in late November. In this blog, we assess whether the substantial reductions in smoking prevalence and increase in e-cigarette (EC) use/vaping observed in last year’s survey have continued. Key findings included:

  • The accelerated decline in daily and current smoking prevalence first seen in 2020/21 continued into 2021/22, including among Māori and the most deprived population groups, but not among Pacific peoples.
  • The greatest reduction in smoking prevalence since 2011/12 occurred among people aged <35 years with much smaller reductions among people aged ≥55 years.
  • The rapid increase in prevalence of EC use seen in 2020/21 continued in 2021/22, with the increase greatest among young people aged <25 years.

We explore implications for the Smokefree Aotearoa goal and legislative and regulatory frameworks for smoking and ECs.

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Expanding the Definition of Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Mindset Change to Help Achieve a Smokefree Aotearoa

Friday, December 2nd, 2022 | cooju60p | No Comments

Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards*

Although tobacco harm reduction will likely support realisation of the Smokefree Aotearoa Goal, this approach is often narrowly conceptualised as supporting transitions from smoking to alternative nicotine products that are less harmful. In this blog, we outline an expanded definition that goes beyond supporting access to and uptake of alternative nicotine products like vaping and recognises other core harm reduction approaches. These include measures that decrease the harmfulness of smoked tobacco products to the user and to others, and interventions that reduce the appeal, availability and addictiveness of smoked tobacco products in absolute terms and relative to alternative nicotine products. We encourage further discussion of these ideas amongst the smokefree community as attention turns to how measures in the soon-to-be-enacted
Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill will be implemented.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

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Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.