Richard Edwards, Driss Ait Ouakrim, Tim Wilson, Andrew Waa, Raglan Maddox, Jennifer Summers, Coral Gartner, Raymond Lovett, Nick Wilson, Tony Blakely*
This blog responds to a recent online critique of a study that modelled how key components of the Smokefree Aotearoa Action Plan would affect smoking prevalence. Given the interest in the study due to developments with the Action Plan and associated legislation before Parliament, we published our findings as a pre-print while it was undergoing peer-review at an academic journal. The online critique made several criticisms of the methods of our study and the conclusion that mandated denicotinisation of smoked tobacco products would likely profoundly reduce smoking prevalence and health inequities. The key criticism – that we relied mainly on evidence from a single randomised controlled trial (RCT) of very low nicotine cigarettes (VLNCs) – is incorrect. Further, the critique and associated press coverage incorrectly imply that the case for mandated denicotinisation is weak and thus that the policy is not justified. The exact impact of mandated denicotinisation is uncertain because it has never been implemented outside of research studies which only partially simulate the policy. However, modelling studies, trials, other evidence and careful logical analysis of the policy strongly suggest it will be highly effective as the key policy to dramatically lower smoking prevalence and reduce health loss and inequalities when implemented in the Aotearoa/New Zealand (A/NZ) context.
Janet Hoek, Lani Teddy, Elizabeth Fenton, Jude Ball, Richard Edwards, Ell Lee*
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill proposes introducing a Smokefree Generation (SFG) policy; over time, this policy would end sales of smoked tobacco products. Although supported by health researchers, we know little about how young people – those targeted by the SFG policy – perceive it. In this blog, we briefly explain the policy rationale before discussing findings from our recent paper that addressed this knowledge gap.
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Philip Gendall, Janet Hoek, J Robert Branston, Richard Edwards, Nick Wilson*
Pricing is one of the most potent influences on consumers’ behaviour. Governments around the world have used this knowledge to implement tobacco excise taxes, which raise the price of tobacco thus reducing tobacco consumption and smoking prevalence. However, tobacco companies have undermined the intended impact of excise taxes by creating new lower-priced brands or brand variants, and by manipulating excise tax increases in their brand pricing. In this blog, we discuss the findings of our just published paper on pricing and changes in the NZ tobacco market during a period of sustained excise tax increases, and explain how minimum pricing could help prevent tobacco companies from undermining measures designed to encourage smoking cessation and discourage smoking uptake.
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Having periods can be bloody hard work, but for some people they present additional difficulties because products like tampons and pads are priced out of reach. Period poverty impacts Kiwis everyday and is often an unseen problem. Period products are now available for free in schools in Aotearoa, but what more can be done?
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Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers*
A just published study examined the lifespan of politicians in 11 high-income democratic countries – including Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ). The NZ politicians were found to live at least 5 years longer than the general NZ population (age and gender matched) and this gap has been growing since 1950. One of the likely reasons is the lower smoking rate of NZ politicians compared to the rest of the population. Perhaps it is time for NZ politicians to share the lifespan benefits of their smokefree lives – by ensuring that the current smokefree legislation before Parliament is passed in full?
Image from Wikimedia Commons