Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Anja Mizdrak, Dr Cristina Cleghorn
From 1 April 2018, the UK is putting in place a type of sugary drinks tax – actually a “soft drinks industry levy”. This blog reviews how they are doing it, early signs of its success, and ponders its relevance for NZ. We also take this opportunity to point out some problems with a recent NZIER Report on sugary drink taxes.
Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Matt Boyd, Dr Andrea Teng, Prof Tony Blakely
Everyone knows that socio-economic inequalities in health exist – in recent times. But one thing we do not know is whether they have always been there. We have just published a study that looks at two historical datasets – with one of these suggesting life span differences by occupational class as measured 100 years ago. We find strong differences in life expectancy by occupational class among men enlisted to fight in the First World War (but not actually getting to the frontline). Whilst not definitive evidence (it is hard to get perfect evidence from 100 years ago!), it does suggest that socio-economic inequalities in mortality have existed for at least 100 years in NZ. In this blog we also take the opportunity to discuss what might be done to address the current inequality problem in this country.
Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Dr Linda Cobiac, Dr Anja Mizdrak, Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Prof Tony Blakely
In this blog we consider recent literature (particularly reviews) on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of dietary counselling as a health intervention. Most studies suggest that dietary counselling is effective though the benefits are typically modest and short-term. The literature on cost-effectiveness is mixed, and there is substantial uncertainty about long-run cost-effectiveness given the typically short-term trials involved. Addressing the obesogenic environment will have potentially (much) larger gains, and due to substantial reductions in obesity-related disease it is likely to be cost-saving. However, governments, policy-makers and the public are often interested in counselling interventions, necessitating close attention to cost-effectiveness of these interventions relative to more structural changes to the environment.
Janet Hoek, Philip Gendall, Richard Edwards, Shayne Nahu, Nick Wilson
From today, all tobacco products in New Zealand will start appearing in standardised, or plain, packages. In this blog, we discuss the importance of developing an on-going monitoring and evaluation plan around this intervention. We also explain why communications with smokers – whether on-pack or mass media – must be salient and timely to have strong and continuing impact on supporting quitting. Achieving all these actions should help to accelerate progress towards the NZ Government’s Smokefree 2025 goal.
Professor Janet Hoek, Dr Lindsay Robertson, Ms Mei-Ling Blank, Dr Rosalina Richards
Although most smokers want to quit, many of those who begin vaping continue to smoke. We recently probed this perplexing ambiguity and explored dual use of cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) . In this blog, we summarise our findings and consider interventions that could encourage smokers to transition completely to vaping.