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
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.
Richard Edwards, Jude Ball, Janet Hoek, Nick Wilson, Andrew Waa*
New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) data released in early December suggest substantial reductions in smoking prevalence occurred between 2019/20 and 2020/21 among all ethnic groups. This blog describes the key findings, explores the data in more detail, and discusses how these changes may have arisen and their implications, particularly given the Government has now released an innovative Action Plan outlining how it will achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa goal.
Janet Hoek, Phil Gendall, Tom Novotny, Nick Wilson, Lindsay Robertson, Richard Edwards, James F Thrasher (*Author details)
The Government’s proposed Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan sets out a perceptive vision for reducing smoking prevalence and ensuring that, once the goal is reached, future generations will remain smokefree. Among the evidence-based measures set out, the plan includes proposals to “make smoked tobacco products less addictive and less appealing”. In this blog, we examine the Government’s specific proposal to prohibit filters and disallow innovations, additives, and other product changes that sustain the appeal and addictiveness of smoked tobacco products.
George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards
In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to be smokefree would also increase the discretionary income of many of those most affected by the Covid-driven recession. We looked at the policies of seven New Zealand political parties and found that they are largely ignoring the strategies that would help smokers to become free of their nicotine addiction.