Would reducing the number of tobacco retail outlets achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Dr Amber L. Pearson, Frederieke S. van der Deen, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

Figure 1. Map of current tobacco retailers in New Zealand (n=6000)

Figure 1. Map of current tobacco retailers in New Zealand (n=6000)

How can we achieve the 2025 goal of a smokefree nation? The best approach to this tobacco endgame, as it is often called, is unclear. Options include ongoing tobacco tax rises, a sinking lid on tobacco imports, denicotinisation of tobacco products, etc. In this blog we consider the option of reducing the number of tobacco retail outlets – leaning on a study we have just published. There are no observational studies, let alone randomised trials, of nation-wide retail outlet reductions. One way to address this ‘evidence gap’ is through modelling studies that anticipate how smoking behaviour may change due to increasing cost of tobacco through travel time and costs – an economic methodology. There is a lot of uncertainty around our results, but they do suggest that an outlet reduction strategy would probably help nudge the country towards the NZ Government’s smokefree goal. But our modelling also suggests tobacco outlet reduction is far from a panacea – under the assumptions we used. Therefore, outlet reduction would probably have to be but one component of an overall programme of activity to achieve the 2025 goal.

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“Why not just ban it?” Is it time to consider ending tobacco sales?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 11 Comments

Professor Richard Edwards

Every now and then when discussing New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal, plain packaging or some other policy measure, the question will come up – ‘well why don’t you just ban it?’ Indeed, Hone Harawira drafted a Private Members Bill proposing exactly that back in 2006.

Why not just ban the sale of tobacco?

Why not just ban the sale of tobacco?

This blog considers some arguments for and against a ban on the production (other than tobacco grown for personal use), importation and sale of tobacco products, whilst not criminalising the use of tobacco. The purpose of such a measure would be to ensure, hasten and sustain the achievement of the goal of close to zero smoking prevalence by 2025. The blog comes down on the side of intensifying other tobacco control approaches initially but also encouraging a public debate about setting a ‘national quit date’ in a few years time when the tobacco industry would be stopped from selling its lethal and addictive tobacco products.

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Good news on declining smoking rates, especially for Māori. Is it credible? What next?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | Nick Wilson | 3 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

Smoking rates have fallen in the 2013 Census compared to the 2006 Census (from 20.7% to 15.1% in adults aged 15+). The results generally fit with other evidence and are good news for health in NZ. And late today Tariana Turia has announced that rates for Māori have fallen nearly 10 percentage points from 2006 to 2013, or from 42.2% to 32.7%.  Which is fantastic news.

This blog considers the results in more detail (for all ethnic groups combined, as Māori data is not yet on the Statistics NZ website), and asks what else could be done to accelerate progress towards a smokefree nation.

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NZ compares well with other OECD countries in health & other areas: But scope for improvements

Friday, November 15th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Assoc Prof Nick Wilson and Dr Nisha Nair

NZ compares favourably with other OECD countries in many ways – according to the just released results of the OECD’s “Better Life Index”. This blog considers some of the details and also various ways we could make further improvements in health, safety and the environment.

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Protecting children in cars from tobacco smoke: The inconsistent case of new mandatory child restraints while optional smoking persists

Friday, November 1st, 2013 | Nick Wilson | 2 Comments

Dr Ninya Maubach

Today sees new rules to ensure children are safely secured in cars come into force, yet many remain exposed to hazardous second hand tobacco smoke (SHS) in vehicles. This blog ask why regulators are prepared to introduce regulation that protects children in the event of a car crash, but are unwilling to protect them from known toxins in tobacco smoke. All Australian States and the ACT prohibit smoking in cars with children present – why isn’t NZ, when the public supports this?

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