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).
Elinor Chisholm, Sarah Bierre, Cheryl Davies, Philippa Howden-Chapman*
Chisholm E, Bierre S, Davies C, Howden-Chapman P. Being forced to leave your rental home can harm health. Public Health Expert Blog. 14 June 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/being-forced-to-leave-your-rental-home-can-harm-health/
Eviction, or a forced move from rental housing, is a common experience for New Zealand renters, yet we know very little about its effects. In this blog post we summarise our recent published study, based on Marsden-funded interviews with tenants who had been evicted. We found that eviction can harm health through causing stress and grief, and precipitating a move into homeless or to a risky housing situation. We argue that reducing the incidence and impact of evictions is an important public health and social welfare issue.
Ceri Dell, Richard Edwards, Anna Gilmore, Lindsay Robertson and Janet Hoek*
Dell C, Edwards R, Gilmore A, Robertson L, Hoek J. Tobacco industry ‘transformation’ – more smoke and mirrors? Public Health Expert Blog. 7 June 2022. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/tobacco-industry-transformation-more-smoke-and-mirrors/
This blog examines tobacco industry claims that it is ‘transforming’ and the possible implications for public health. We draw extensively on an article examining tobacco industry transformation1 from the Tobacco Control 30th anniversary issue and consider a response from tobacco industry spokespeople.2 Finally, we review tobacco companies’ responses to the Smokefree Aotearoa Action Plan and whether their reactions support claims the tobacco industry is transforming.