Richard Edwards, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson, Lindsay Robertson, Chris Bullen*
Edwards R, Hoek J, Waa A, Wilson N, Robertson L, Bullen C. Removing the nicotine from tobacco: The key component of the current Smokefree Bill. Public Health Expert Blog. 12 July 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/removing-the-nicotine-from-tobacco-the-key-component-of-the-current-smokefree-bill/
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill includes three key policy measures from the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan: denicotinisation of cigarettes and tobacco, large reductions in outlets selling tobacco, and the introduction of a Smokefree Generation policy. In a previous blog we summarised the evidence for and against denicotinisation. This blog updates the evidence, describes why this policy is so pivotal, and discusses implementation issues.
Constanza Jackson, Amanda Kvalsvig, Jennifer Summers, Michael Baker*
Jackson C, Kvalsvig A, Summers J, Baker M. Monkeypox has arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand: what is the level of risk and how do we manage it? Public Health Expert Blog. 11 July 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/monkeypox-has-arrived-in-aotearoa-new-zealand-what-is-the-level-of-risk-and-how-do-we-manage-it/
The global outbreak of monkeypox has for the first time caused widespread transmission outside African countries where it is endemic. Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) had its first case diagnosed on Saturday 9 July 2022. This outbreak currently represents a relatively low public health risk to NZ because, while potentially transmissible here, spread is easily contained with case isolation and contact management. However, this outbreak could become an important global health threat for low- and middle-income countries. NZ should consider supporting health initiatives to control this infection in countries where it is an endemic zoonotic disease, and in other countries to eliminate it, including in NZ itself.
Professor John D. Potter*
Potter J. Long COVID: Century-old Lessons We Still Have Not Learned. Public Health Expert Blog. 30 June 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/long-covid-century-old-lessons-we-still-have-not-learned/
This long-read blog updates what is known about long COVID – now informed by some very large studies and a meta-analysis. The two most concerning aspects of long COVID are its high prevalence (up to 30% of those infected) and, as reinfection is increasingly common, a dose-response relationship between the number of infections and the increased risk of harmful outcomes. Such findings reinforce the continuing need for government action and individual commitment to the core preventive measures of: vaccination, mask use inside public places, and physical distancing where possible.
Janet Hoek, Jude Ball, Richard Edwards, Andrew Waa, Lani Teddy, Anna Graham DeMello, Lindsay Robertson*
Hoek J, Ball J, Edwards R, Waa A, Teddy L, Graham DeMello A, Robertson L. The Smokefree Generation: A core measure in New Zealand’s endgame strategy. Public Health Expert Blog. 28 June 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/the-smokefree-generation-a-core-measure-in-new-zealands-endgame-strategy/
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill outlines three crucial measures: mandated very low nicotine cigarettes, large reductions in the number of outlets selling tobacco, and the introduction of a Smokefree Generation (SFG) policy. In this blog, we briefly explain how these three measures will contribute to the Smokefree 2025 goal, which aims to reduce smoking prevalence equitably, to below five percent (and as close to zero percent as possible), among all population groups by 2025. We then focus specifically on the SFG’s logic and evidence, and examine arguments raised against this measure.
Dr Leah Grout, Louise Thornley, Prof Nick Wilson*
Grout L, Thornley L, Wilson N. Seven decades of severe weather events in Aotearoa New Zealand: What are the human health impacts? Public Health Expert Blog. 22 June 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/seven-decades-of-severe-weather-events-in-aotearoa-new-zealand-what-are-the-human-health-impacts/
In this blog, we summarise our recent report that explores the health impacts from severe weather events, such as floods and storms, in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) for the past 70 years. Over this timeframe, there were 498 severe weather events recorded, of which 185 were linked with either injuries or deaths. In total, the deaths of 362 people were reported, and the most common cause of death was boating accidents. The health consequences of severe weather could increase with climate change – but fortunately there are a range of preventive measures available that could lower the harm from these events (eg, by reducing housing on flood plains and low-lying coastal areas).