Prof Janet Hoek, Mei-Ling Blank, Prof Nick Wilson, Lindsay Robertson, Dr Louise Marsh
Do the New Zealand (NZ) Government’s proposed changes to liberalise the e-cigarette market set out a robust process for helping people who smoke to switch to e-cigarettes? In this blog, we discuss the proposed regulatory changes and explain some of the complex practices smokers must adopt when commencing vaping. We suggest limiting supply of nicotine e-cigarettes to specialist vape stores and pharmacies, to ensure people wishing to quit smoking can obtain expert advice and thus maximise their chances of quitting. We also argue that, at the same time as liberalising access to nicotine e-cigarettes, the Government should restrict access to tobacco, which remains available at thousands of retail outlets throughout NZ.
Professor Janet Hoek, Professor Karine Gallopel-Morvan, Professor Richard Edwards, Professor Tony Blakely
New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal is now less than ten years away but we are unlikely to achieve this world-leading goal unless the Government introduces innovative new policies that reduce smoking prevalence (1). Existing measures have tackled different facets of tobacco marketing, with plain packaging reducing a potent form of tobacco marketing and excise tax increases making smoking less affordable. However, tobacco products themselves have received less attention. In this blog we outline findings from recent studies examining roll-your-own tobacco use and explore potential policy implications.
Roll-your-own tobacco (RYO) has increased in popularity, largely due to its cost advantages, which have persisted despite efforts to reduce differences in the excise tax on RYO tobacco and tailor made (TM) cigarettes (2). Many New Zealand smokers now use loose tobacco to make RYO cigarettes, which are typically around half to two-thirds the size of TM cigarettes (3,4). RYO use is higher among younger demographics, particularly young adults aged 20-24, where more than 60% smoke RYO, either exclusively (42%) or in conjunction with TM cigarettes (20%) (3). Among 25-45 year olds, RYO use (exclusive and with TM cigarettes) is 57%. RYO use is higher among Māori and NZ Europeans than among Pacific peoples (see figure below); people experiencing greater deprivation are also more likely to use RYO tobacco than smokers who experience less deprivation (3). Furthermore, New Zealand RYO smokers are also more likely than TM cigarette smokers to have co-morbidities such as mental health illnesses, illicit drug addictions, and risky drinking behaviours (5).
Professor Richard Edwards
The hardening hypothesis suggests that as smoking prevalence declines, the remaining smokers will be the more addicted ones who are less likely to quit. But does the NZ evidence support this? This blog considers these issues and explores the potential implications for achieving NZ’s Smokefree 2025 goal.
Janet Hoek, Co-Director, ASPIRE2025 and Professor of Marketing and Philip Gendall, ASPIRE2025 and Emeritus Professor of Marketing
The Prime Minister’s decision to progress plain packaging legislation “sooner rather than later” is an important step towards our smokefree 2025 goal. There are four key areas for improving on Australia’s legislation to maximise the effectiveness of plain packaging:
- preventing the proliferation of brand variant names;
- improving the pictorial warning labels so these resonate more effectively with smokers;
- introducing dissuasive cigarette sticks and rolling papers, and
- foregrounding Quitline information and supportive cessation messages on packages.
Associate Professor George Thomson, Professor Richard Edwards
There is growing frustration with lack of robust action and progress at the national level with the Smokefree 2025 goal. However, it is not all bad news. A major avenue of hope for a smokefree Aotearoa comes from the enthusiastic efforts by local coalitions of local government, NGOs and iwi. Here we detail some of the progress since 2013 in eight city and district council areas. Highlights include significant downtown smokefree areas in Whanganui, Palmerston North and Whangarei, an innovative smokefree pavement dining bylaw in Palmerston North, smokefree pavements in front of Horowhenua early childhood centres and schools, and smokefree bus stops in a number of places. The race to become the first place to be smokefree in Aotearoa is on!
Ngati Kahungunu: A leader in smokefree/tobacco free events