“Appetite for Destruction”: A new book with attitude – but also strong science

Monday, September 30th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 2 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely

Book launched tomorrow

Gareth Morgan is known as a smart economist and a bit of a stirrer of public debate.  Think domestic cat control to save birds. Think “Big Kahuna” on social policy. And think “Health Cheque”, a review of prioritisation in the health services. But he, and his economist co-author Geoff Simmons, actually apply a very careful analysis before they get in your face with their solutions.

Continue reading

Smart party pill law makes tobacco & alcohol regulation look pathetic

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Professor Richard Edwards

Party pills now have stringent government-promulgated rules and processes. All but one MP voted for the new law. The irony is that tobacco – and for that matter alcohol – with orders of magnitude more harm gets the wet bus ticket regulatory treatment. The promise is that if such a wide parliamentary consensus can be achieved on party pills, proportionate action on tobacco should see it sorted out by lunch time.

Continue reading

Happiness surveys, & can health sector interventions improve well-being?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 | Nick Wilson | 2 Comments

Assoc Prof Nick Wilson & Prof Tony Blakely

According to the just released “World Happiness Report 2013”, New Zealanders are among the happiest people in the world, ranking 13th out of 156 nations examined. Actually only seven countries appear to have significantly higher (happier) rankings than New Zealand (where the confidence intervals for the ranking scores clearly don’t overlap). These include the four Scandinavian countries, two European countries (Netherlands and Switzerland) and Canada. The source of the New Zealand data is the two-yearly New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS), run by Statistics New Zealand. Continue reading

Does change in income and deprivation change your smoking risk? Yes, but in different directions.

Thursday, September 12th, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | 5 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely

Everyone knows that lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to smoke.  But why?  Is it because of things like less education or more deprivation actually causing you to smoke?  Or is it other correlated things like personality?  The answer to these questions matter, both for tobacco control policy and political debate.  Moreover, not all is as you might expect, and it differs for deprivation and income. Continue reading

New Zealand E-cigarette trial in Lancet – keeping it in perspective

Monday, September 9th, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | 9 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely

A New Zealand randomized trial of e-cigarettes just published in the prestigious Lancet journal has been touted in the media as showing how good e-cigarettes are for people wanting to quit smoking.  This is overstating the study findings. And to be fair to the authors, overstating their conclusions too.

So what did the study find?  No statistically significant difference in abstinence at 6 months.

Continue reading