Issue 179  |  8 September 2011

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Guest Editorial

ASPIRE 2025 Collaboration

Prof Janet Hoek
Department of Marketing
Te Kura Pakihi – School of Business
University of Otago

Research and advocacy, and the Māori Affairs Select Committee Enquiry's far-reaching recommendations, finally led to the removal of tobacco retail displays.

The overwhelming political support for this measure is a huge achievement for the tobacco control community. However, as well as celebrate, we must also consider the next steps, particularly how we might assist policy makers charged with implementing this historic measure.

Researchers in the ASPIRE 2025 Collaboration undertook many of the studies that informed the Smoke-free Environments (Control and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. Team members have explored smokers' and quitters' responses to retail displays, examined the experiences of retailers who have voluntarily taken tobacco 'out of sight', and evaluated the outcomes in countries that have already enacted this measure.

On Thursday 29 September, we will be hosting the inaugural ASPIRE 2025 research seminar, which will explore how we might implement and evaluate the removal of tobacco point-of-sale displays in New Zealand.

We are delighted to announce that Anne Jones, CEO of ASH Australia, will be our keynote speaker. ASH Australia was instrumental in bringing about 'out of sight' laws and Anne's detailed knowledge of how the policy was implemented, and the industry's responses, will be invaluable as we follow in Australia's footsteps.

ASPIRE 2025 researchers will also present snapshots of their research into retail displays, and seek feedback from delegates about future research directions.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Richard Edwards, who will discuss insights gained as a member of the expert evaluation team assessing point-of-sale display removal in Ireland
  • Professor Janet Hoek, who will review retailers’ experiences of removing point-of-sale displays in New Zealand
  • Professor Julian Crane, who will explore the potential for distributing NRT more widely through existing retail outlets
  • Professor Chris Cunningham and Dr Heather Gifford will facilitate discussion following the presentations.

We invite all tobacco control researchers, policy makers and advocates to attend this free inaugural seminar on Thursday 29 September, Kingsgate Hotel Wellington, commencing at 10.00am (registration from 9.30am).

To register, or for a detailed flier, please contact Renee at:


Landmark day in public health, as Reps passes tobacco plain packaging bills

Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia have commended federal MPs for emphatically passing legislation to introduce plain packaging for the sale of tobacco products in Australia from next year.

Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Ian Olver said Australia’s position as a world leader in tobacco control was significantly strengthened by the passage of the plain packaging bills in the House of Representatives.

“The evidence on how much young people in particularly can be lured to smoking by the look and feel of packaging is compelling, so this is a landmark day in restricting the way tobacco products can be promoted,” said Professor Olver, a medical oncologist who for three decades treated people dying from tobacco-caused cancers.

“Health Minister Nicola Roxon showed great courage and conviction for taking on the tobacco companies and championing plain packaging.

“All members who supported plain packaging should be congratulated for putting the health of their constituents before the interests of big tobacco companies.”

National Heart Foundation CEO Dr Lyn Roberts said young Australians turned off smoking by the sight of a drab brown pack with a more prominent graphic warning will greatly reduce their risk of premature cardiovascular disease.

“Minister Roxon and all Members who supported plain packaging have taken one of the nation’s most important public policy steps towards removing the glamour from smoking,” Dr Roberts said.

“Other countries keen to reduce the population health harms of tobacco will be encouraged by Australia’s leadership on plain packaging.”

Cancer Council Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia media release,
24 August 2011


Point of sale displays and beyond: The next steps for tobacco control in retail settings

Thursday 29 September 2011

Registrations are now open for the inaugural ASPIRE 2025 seminar.

At this seminar you will learn from the Australian experience of removing tobacco retail displays, hear about research and views on the next steps for tobacco control in the New Zealand retail environment, and engage in a dialogue with others from the tobacco control community.

ASPIRE 2025 is a newly launched national collaboration of leading New Zealand tobacco control researchers with experts from the University of Otago, Massey University, Tala Pasifika and Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development.

Seminar schedule

9:30 Coffee and registration

10.00 Welcome

10.15 Keynote address (Anne Jones, CEO of ASH Australia)

11:00 Questions and discussion

12:00 Lunch

12:45 ASPIRE 2025 presentations

1.45 Questions, discussion and the way forward

2.15 Seminar closes

There is no cost to attend this seminar, but places are limited. To register, email Renee at the Health Sponsorship Council at

Plain truth about tobacco packs

Richard Edwards, Janet Hoek, George Thomson and Nick Wilson

The tobacco industry-funded visitor Patrick Basham of the United States-based Democracy Institute has claimed calls for plain packaging of cigarettes are driven by "junk science" (Plain silly: why changing cigarette packets won't alter smoking rates, Dominion Post, 17 August).

However, the truth is the tobacco industry has been running scared since the 1990s, when New Zealand research first indicated plain packs would reduce the attraction of tobacco products. It has moved into desperate attack mode since Australia announced it would require plain packs.

Mr Basham says, "Evidence alone, not theory or tradition, must drive policy." Let's look at the evidence base he claims is "embarrassingly thin".

For more than two decades, researchers have documented the fact young people find plain packages ugly and unappealing. There's also strong evidence that graphic health warnings, something the tobacco industry also fought hard against, encourage smokers to try to quit, and inhibit children and young people from experimenting with smoking. We know that the larger these warnings are, the more effective they are at prompting smokers to consider quitting, and deterring people who might be at risk of taking up smoking.

We also know warnings have stronger effects when presented on plain backgrounds as opposed to branded packs. These findings have been documented in rigorously designed research in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Britain by independent research teams with no other agenda than a desire to test interventions that could reduce the number of people who die before their time from illnesses caused by smoking.

Mr Basham complains about "junk science", but his misrepresentation of the evidence takes some beating in that regard. For example, he claims: "This lack of evidence [that tobacco advertising and marketing influences children's smoking] is confirmed by the fact that countries that have had advertising bans for a quarter of a century or more have not experienced statistically large declines in youth smoking."

This claim is strikingly at odds with New Zealand evidence, and findings from other countries. From the 1990s, virtually all advertising other than that on the pack and in tobacco retail displays has not been allowed in New Zealand.

Since then, smoking among 14- to 15-year-olds has declined from 29 percent in 1999 to just 10 percent now and the proportion of 14- to 15-year-olds who have never tried a cigarette has doubled from 32 percent to 64 percent.

Dominion Post, 25 August 2011, Click here to read the full article

Just a few minutes with Esther U

Each Tobacco Control Update we ask smokefree and/or tobacco control workers to tell other readers a little about themselves and what they do.

In this issue we feature Esther U, Campaign Officer for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

How long have you been working in smokefree/tobacco control (where and in what positions)?

Seven years, the past four at ASH New Zealand.

Prior to this I was a civil servant at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Macau between 2004 and 2007. Macau is a small city state south of China and a former Portuguese colony.

What does your current job involve?

My major focus is grassroots advocacy. Since 2007, this has included the campaign to remove tobacco retail displays.

I provide support in drafting submissions and technical documents at ASH and provide New Zealand tobacco control information for overseas organisations such as the Framework Convention Alliance.

I also monitor tobacco advertising and promotion at point-of-sale as well as price-related promotions.

In addition, I am the administrator of the New Zealand Tobacco Action Network (NZTAN). Please contact me at if you'd like to receive smokefree updates.

What did you do before you began working in smokefree/tobacco control?

I have always been involved in public health. Besides working in tobacco control, I was also involved in the promotion of healthy settings such as the World Health Organization's Healthy City project. I enjoy working in the public health sector.

What are the highlights and lowlights of your job?

I feel satisfied when I can get people involved in supporting our campaigns. I also enjoy seeing the community benefit from new policies that we've worked for.

The major lowlight was when the government did not proceed with the proposal to ban tobacco retail displays in early 2008.

When you're not battling for a smokefree New Zealand, what do you like to do to relax?

I am a quiet nerd. I like drawing, reading, writing, photography and sometimes running. I also enjoy serving as a youth mentor and an interpreter for my church.

If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing in New Zealand, what would it be?

The taste of Marmite – I don't like it.

Who is someone you really admire and why?

Dr Judith Mackay – the pioneer and leader of tobacco control in the Asia region. She has devoted her life to fight for Asian communities against big tobacco. She started her long-term advocacy work when the tobacco companies still had a strong influence on the governments of many Asian countries.

I believe Dr Mackay mirrors many of those who work quietly but courageously against big tobacco in their countries.

Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 tobacco control sector seminars

If you work in tobacco control and want to catch up with colleagues, gain insight into the smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal, and contribute to building a strategic approach to tobacco control – then put one of these dates in your diary

Auckland – Wednesday 2 November 2011
Rotorua – Thursday 3 November 2011
Wellington – Wednesday 16 November 2011
Christchurch – Thursday 17 November 2011

Draft Programme

9:00 Coffee and morning tea available

9.30 Opening

9.45 Tobacco control – funding, priorities, plans and activities – Ministry of Health

10:45 Cessation – what’s happening, what’s new?

12:15 Lunch

1:00 Achieving New Zealand’s smokefree 2025 goal. How do we get there?

2:30 Research – what’s happening, what’s new?

4:00 Close

If people would like to register their interest prior to this, please email Donna Harding (, including your contact details and which seminar you would like to attend.

Pacific Maternal Health Workforce

Family Planning International (FPI) is putting together a brief on the work of New Zealand's international NGOs in terms of developing the maternal health workforce in the Pacific, specifically the midwifery workforce. This brief will form a snapshot of what is currently being done in the area of maternal health, particularly midwifery.

FPI is collating this information on behalf of the New Zealand Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development (NZPPD). A specific recommendation from NZPPD's last open hearing on maternal health is to improve the maternal health workforce in the Pacific.

If you are doing any work to help develop or support the Pacific maternal health workforce, please email by 15 September with details. FPI will collate the information received from NGOs, governments, donor and other agencies in order to compile a short briefing, which they are happy to share with interested parties.

Lunchtime briefing about two reports commissioned by Every Child Counts


  • 1000 days to get it right for every child – The effectiveness of public investment in New Zealand children by economist David Grimmond.
  • The effectiveness of public investment in New Zealand's Māori and Pasifika children by Associate Professor Manuka Henare.

Come and hear the authors and Every Child Counts members talk about ways to improve investment in children and how you can support the 1000 days campaign.

12.30-2pm Thursday 8 September
5th floor, 85 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

Bring your own lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided.

Please RSVP to Mike Coleman, Every Child Counts Project Manager, by 1 September:

Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre resources

The following articles and resources are available via the Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre website:


Ministry of Health Tobacco Health Target Update – Primary Care

"90 percent of enrolled patients who smoke and are seen in general practice will be provided with advice and help to quit by July 2012."

This update focuses on cessation and provides further information and support regarding the ABC cessation approach and the cessation support services available in New Zealand.

'Cessation support' (the 'C' of ABC) includes both smoking cessation medication and behavioural support. Quit rates are highest when these are used together. Generally, more intensive support is associated with higher quit rates. Primary care staff have an important role in motivating people to 'give quitting a go' and advising that the best outcomes are achieved when using a combination of stop smoking support and medicines.

We know some practices are providing multi-session smoking cessation support in-house, which is great. We would encourage practices without this option to refer their patients who want help in quitting to specialists services when more intensive support is required. These services are free and effective.

ABC smoking cessation

General key messages and overview – this two-pager summarises the key messages for targeting the importance of addressing smoking by all healthcare workers.

Role of nurses in supporting the ABC approach – this document focuses on the vital role nursing staff play in supporting the ABC approach, particularly in encouraging and fielding questions about the use of NRT.

New Zealand smoking cessation services – links and contact details

We have added a page to the HIIRC website that provides links and contact details for the main smoking cessation services available in New Zealand, such as Quitline, Aukati KaiPaipa and a range of Pacific cessation services.

If there are other services in your region that should be added, let us know.

Smoking Cessation Research Review

Research Review supports the medical community through a wide range of medically-focused reviews, each published quarterly highlighting the latest studies, articles, trials and research in a particular field. It compiles these summaries into a brief electronic publication, which is sent out free to those who subscribe.

Earlier this year it developed a Smoking Cessation Research Review and has just released Issue 3. You can view this issue both on the Research Review website where you can also subscribe directly.

This issue covers research on the effectiveness of different interventions, the role of genetics in tobacco dependence, e-cigarettes and the link between NRT use and reduced weight gain when quitting.


Recent research

Click the links below each piece for more information.

Cessation assistance reported by smokers in 15 countries

This publication describes and compares the variability of quit smoking attempts and use of various forms of cessation support across the world. It includes comparisons of New Zealand with other countries, and highlights how New Zealand stands out internationally in terms of Quitline use.

Smokers have varying misperceptions about the harmfulness of menthol cigarettes

The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of menthol use and perceptions of relative harmfulness among smokers in an ethnically diverse population where tobacco marketing is relatively constrained

The effect of a smokefree campus policy on college students' smoking behaviours and attitudes

Although the association between smoking status and poorer mental health has been well documented, the association between quit status and psychological distress is less clear. The aim of this study is to investigate the association of smoking status and quit status with psychological distress.

Changes in retail tobacco promotions in a cohort of stores before, during, and after a tobacco product display ban

We used a longitudinal design to investigate the impact of a government policy banning the display of tobacco products at the point-of-sale. The extent of tobacco promotions in 481 randomly selected stores was documented at four points in time (2005-2009).

The association between failed quit attempts and increased levels of psychological distress in smokers in a large New Zealand cohort

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a smokefree campus policy on college students' smoking behaviours and attitudes.

The science of prevention for children and youth

The Workplace Research Centre is working collaboratively with the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and the Workforce Education and Development Group in the Sydney Medical School to further our knowledge of how we can improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Smokefree shorts

Where possible, links to full articles are provided below each story.

New Zealand

Taking aim at tobacco

In the year 2025 any smokers still drawing breath will find their habit on the edge of extinction. At least, that is the plan being promoted by "Aspire 2025" - a group of experts led by a professor of medicine from the University of Otago.

If smokers think they have been alienated and ostracised by law changes in the past, just wait until they see what might be in store for them next.

Otago Daily Times, 27 August 2011


District Health Board seeks smokefree signs

District Health Board staff want to stamp out smoking in playgrounds and have asked the Hamilton City Council to support smokefree signs – the second recent plea by health workers for council backing to stub out public smoking.

Waikato Times, 30 August 2011

Older whānau members 'buying tobacco' for girls

A Whanganui health worker is targeting parents in a bid to reduce smoking among rural teenage Māori girls in the region.

Julie Tolladay-Poulton says smoking has become so normal in whānau that older members often buy cigarettes for the younger ones.

Radio New Zealand, 6 September 2011

Central Otago playgrounds go smokefree

Central Otago children will be able to breathe easier now smokefree policies have taken effect in all playgrounds administered by the Central Otago District Council (CODC).

This joint initiative between the Cancer Society and Southern PHO was mooted last year and received formal CODC backing earlier this year, Southern PHO health promotion co-ordinator Sarah Berger said.

Smokefree signs were being installed at all playgrounds administered by CODC, allowing children to play in a "healthier outdoor environment'', Miss Berger said.

Otago Daily Times, 1 September 2011

Tobacco free goal has top-level support

The vision to stub out smoking in New Zealand has scored a big tick from the country's top doctors, health officials and commentators, a new study shows.

But these senior figures warn that too many Kiwis still regard cigarettes as a regular commodity and not "the dangerous drug that it is".

TVNZ, 5 September 2011


New research confirms electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tool

Contrary to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations that electronic cigarette users should switch to FDA-approved smoking cessation products, new research confirms that the change could reverse the health gain achieved.

Health risks associated with the use of electronic cigarette are likely much smaller (if any) than smoking traditional cigarettes and can potentially yield a large health benefit. Yet, the FDA and other anti-smoking organisations continue to adamantly claim electronic cigarettes are dangerous for your health.

PR Newswire, 30 August 2011

Leading Australians back plain packaging

Four former Australians of the Year have signed a joint letter to federal MPs, urging them to support legislation to mandate plain packaging for cigarettes.

Herald Sun, 24 August 2011

BATA wants to see packaging legal advice

British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) will ask the Australian High Court to force the Federal Government to release its legal advice on plain packaging, and is also preparing to launch a High Court challenge as soon as the legislation passes the Senate.

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 2011

ACT to ban smoking in cars with kids

The Australian Capital Territory Government is moving to ban people from smoking in cars when children are passengers. It has introduced legislation into the Legislative Assembly that will allow police to issue a $250 on-the-spot fine to adults caught smoking in cars with children around. Most other Australian jurisdictions have similar laws.

ABC News, 25 August 2011

Big tobacco's brazen denials and dirty tricks

Ever since the link between smoking and lung cancer was established more than 50 years ago, the tobacco industry has displayed extraordinary tenacity when it comes to denying the scientific evidence showing that smoking kills.

New Zealand Herald, 3 September 2011

How safe is tobacco that melts in your mouth? 

Big name tobacco brands are ramping up their presence in the dissolvable tobacco game, and consumers in test markets, as well as regulators, are trying to figure out what to make of the new products.

In early 2011, in Colorado and North Carolina, RJ Reynolds began test-marketing Camel-branded wares – tobacco compressed into toothpicks, mints and strips that dissolve in your mouth. Unlike cigarettes, they produce no smoke, and unlike smokeless tobacco, you don't have to spit when you use them.

Time, 19 August 2011

War on smoking gets personal

Academics studying the smoking behaviour of British teenagers and adults have become the targets of vitriolic attacks by the pro-smoking lobby.

University researchers have been sent hate emails and some have even received anonymous phone calls, which usually come after a series of blogs posted on pro-smoking websites, including at least one which is linked to the tobacco industry.

New Zealand Herald, 2 September 2011

Israel: 'draconian' cigarette ad law one of the world's toughest

Cigarette advertising – in nearly any form or media – will be completely banned, if the Health Ministry in Israel has its way. The Ministry recently published a "memorandum of law" which would "generally prohibit the advertisement of tobacco products to reduce public exposure to advertising for those products that cause death, disease and disability."

Israel National News, 2 September 2011

Irish Health Minister notifies prohibition on display of tobacco

Irish Health Minister Edwin Poots is looking forward to introducing regulations that can prohibit the display of tobacco products from stores as well as scrapping vending machines.

The Minister has notified that the ban is expected to come in action from next year.

"Despite all the available evidence on the harm caused by smoking, hundreds of children and young people are still taking up this life-limiting habit each year,” Mr Poots said.

Top News, 24 August 2011

Smoked out: tobacco giant's war on science

The world's largest tobacco company is attempting to gain access to confidential information about British teenagers' smoking habits. Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, is seeking to force a British university to reveal full details of its research involving confidential interviews with thousands of children aged between 11 and 16.

The Independent, 1 September 2011

Hard facts on social smoking

Are all smokers the same? Clearly not. Some smoke 60 a day, some 20 a day and some, one or two, and not every day. So when we talk about the risks of smoking, what do we mean?

New Zealand Herald, 3 September 2011

Monitoring tobacco retailers does work in combating consumption by minors

If you watch them they won't smoke, at least that's what a recent study says. The study shows the sale of tobacco to minors has been reduced by 97 percent in the last seven years after a local programme began monitoring retailers.

San Diego CW News, 8 August 2011

Cigarette smoking causes more arterial damage in women than in men

The harmful effects of tobacco smoke on atherosclerosis, one of the driving forces of cardiovascular disease, are greater in women than in men according to a large European epidemiological study.

EurekAlert, 29 August 2011


"Others will follow. This is a light shining the way for others to do the same and many countries are already considering it"

ASH Australia Chief Executive Anne Jones on Australia's position as one of the first countries to enforce plain packaging for tobacco sales.
"Australia poised to become first to ban tobacco package logos",
Bloomberg, 25 August 2011


"In 1991 The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that by age six nearly as many children could associate Joe Camel with cigarettes as could associate Mickey Mouse with the Disney Chanel logo. Also, 32.8 percent of all cigarettes illegally sold to minors were Camels, up from less than 1 percent before the cartoon camel campaign."

"Move over, Joe Camel", Huffington Post, 3 September 2011

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