Scientific Journal Articles
Showing 1-25 of 48 Results
McKiernan, et al. 2019. Beliefs among Adult Smokers and Quitters about Nicotine and De-nicotinized Cigarettes in the 2016-17 ITC New Zealand Survey [access full article]
Objectives: We sought to explore understanding of addiction and nicotine, as well as support and interest in low-nicotine cigarettes among New Zealand (NZ) smokers and recent quitters.
Methods: Data came from wave 1 (August 2016-April 2017) of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) NZ Survey, comprising 1090 smokers and recent quitters, including 363 identifying as Māori (the NZ indigenous population).
Results: Most participants (74%) were interested in trying low-nicotine or nicotine-free cigarettes and 80% supported introducing a law to reduce nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco if nicotine was available through alternative products. Support was similar among demographic groups, smokers, recent quitters, and daily and occasional smokers. Nearly all participants believed smoking is addictive and nicotine is the major cause of addiction. Almost half erroneously thought nicotine is the main cause of cancer from cigarettes.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that introducing mandated low-nicotine cigarettes could be feasible in NZ where alternative nicotine delivery products are widely available. However, implementation may need to be accompanied by public education to correct misperceptions about the harmfulness of nicotine and to encourage switching to alternative nicotine delivery products among smokers who cannot quit nicotine completely.[download PDF]
Gravely, et al. 2019. Prevalence of awareness, ever-use, and current use of NVPs among adult current smokers and ex-smokers in 14 countries with differing regulations on sales and marketing of NVPs: Cross-sectional findings from the ITC Project [access full article]
Aims: This paper presents updated prevalence estimates of awareness, ever‐use, and current use of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from 14 International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) countries that have varying regulations governing NVP sales and marketing.
Design, setting, participants and measurements: A cross‐sectional analysis of adult (≥18 years) current smokers and ex‐smokers from 14 countries participating in the ITC Project. Data from the most recent survey questionnaire for each country were included, which spanned the period 2013 to 2017. Countries were categorized into four groups based on regulations governing NVP sales and marketing (allowable or not), and level of enforcement (strict or weak where NVPs are not permitted to be sold): (1) most restrictive policies (MRPs): not legal to be sold or marketed with strict enforcement: Australia, Brazil, Uruguay; (2) restrictive policies (RPs): not approved for sale or marketing with weak enforcement: Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand (NZ); (3) less restrictive policies (LRPs): legal to be sold and marketed with regulations: England, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, United States (US); (4) no regulatory policies (NRPs): Bangladesh, China, Zambia. Countries were also grouped by World Bank Income Classifications. Country‐specific weighted logistic regression models estimated adjusted NVP prevalence estimates for: awareness, ever/current use, and frequency of use (daily vs. non‐daily).
Findings: NVP awareness and use were lowest in NRP countries. Generally, ever‐ and current use of NVPs were lower in MRP countries [ever‐use: 7.1% to 48.9%; current use: 0.3% to 3.5%] relative to LRP countries [ever‐use: 38.9% to 66.6%; current use: 5.5% to 17.2%] and RP countries [ever‐use: 10.0% to 62.4%; current use: 1.4% to 15.5%]. NVP use was highest among high income countries, followed by upper‐middle income countries, and then by lower‐middle income countries.
Conclusions: With a few exceptions, awareness and use of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) varies by the strength of national regulations governing NVP sales/marketing, and by country income. In countries with no regulatory policies, use rates were very low, suggesting that there was little availability, marketing and/or interest in NVPs in these countries where smoking populations are predominantly poorer. The higher awareness and use of NVPs in high income countries with moderately (e.g., Canada, NZ) and less (e.g., England, US) restrictive policies, is likely due to the greater availability and affordability of NVPs.[download PDF]
Edwards. 2014. Roll your own cigarettes are less natural and at least as harmful as factory rolled tobacco [access full article]
Poorer smokers may favour “roll your own” and many falsely believe that use of loose tobacco is less dangerous than factory made cigarettes, writes Richard Edwards. Specific interventions may be needed to encourage such smokers to quit.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2012. Hazardous patterns of alcohol use are relatively common in smokers: ITC Project (New Zealand)
Aims: To describe patterns of alcohol use in a nationally-representative sample of New Zealand smokers.
Methods: The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) derives its sample from a national survey: the NZ Health Survey (NZHS). From this sample we surveyed adult smokers (n=1376).
Results: A third (33.1%) of these smokers had a drinking pattern that was considered hazardous (i.e., AUDIT scores greater than and equal to 8). These figures were much higher than for non-smokers in the NZHS (at 13.1%). In both the univariate and multivariate analyses, hazardous drinking patterns were significantly more common among: younger smokers, male smokers, and Māori smokers (e.g., adjusted odds ratio for the latter: 1.43, 95%CI: 1.05-1.95). The same pattern of more hazardous drinking was also seen (but in the univariate analysis only), for smokers with financial stress and for moderate individuallevel deprivation.
Conclusions: These findings provide additional evidence that hazardous drinking patterns are elevated in New Zealand smokers overall and particularly in some groups of smokers. Given the international evidence that hazardous drinking may impede quitting, policy makers could consider the potential benefits of improved alcohol control as part of the national strategy to curtail the tobacco epidemic and achieve the government's "Smokefree Nation 2025" goal. Such an approach could also reduce this country's high levels of alcohol-related harm and reduce gender and ethnic health inequalities.[download PDF]
Edwards, et al. 2012. Support for a tobacco endgame and increased regulation of the tobacco industry among New Zealand smokers: results from a National Survey
Aim: To examine the prevalence of smoker support for a ban on cigarette sales in 10 years time and increased regulation of the tobacco industry and to investigate the independent associations of support for these measures.
Methods: The authors surveyed opinions among adult smokers in two survey waves (N=1376 and N=923) from the New Zealand arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey during 2007–2009. The authors report prevalence of support stratified by age, gender and ethnicity. The authors carried out multivariate analyses to identify significant associations among potential determinants (demographics, socioeconomic status, mental health and smoking-related beliefs and behaviours) of support.
Results: Most New Zealand smokers supported greater regulation of the tobacco industry (65%) and more government action on tobacco (59%). Around half (46%) supported banning sales of cigarettes in 10 years time, provided effective nicotine substitutes were available. In a fully adjusted model, significant associations with support for greater tobacco company regulation included Māori ethnicity, experience of financial stress and greater awareness about the harms of smoking. Significant associations with support for a ban on tobacco sales in 10 years time included increasing area-based deprivation level, increasing intention to quit and greater concern about the health effects of smoking.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that most smokers will support stronger government action to control the tobacco industry and that many support radical ‘endgame’ approaches. Greater support among Māori, more deprived and possibly Pacific smokers, is an important finding, which could inform the design and implementation of new policies given the very high smoking prevalence among these groups and hence high priority for targeted tobacco control interventions. Perceived difficulties in gaining public support should not impede the introduction of rigorous tobacco control measures needed to achieve a tobaccofree New Zealand.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2012. Cessation assistance reported by smokers in 15 countries participating in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Surveys
Aims: To describe some of the variability across the world in levels of quit smoking attempts and use of various forms of cessation support.
Design: Use of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project surveys of smokers, using the 2007 survey wave (or later, where necessary).
Settings: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay and United States.
Participants: Samples of smokers from 15 countries.
Measurements: Self-report on use of cessation aids and on visits to health professionals and provision of cessation advice during the visits.
Findings: Prevalence of quit attempts in the last year varied from less than 20% to more than 50% across countries. Similarly, smokers varied greatly in reporting visiting health professionals in the last year (<20% to over 70%), and among those who did, provision of advice to quit also varied greatly. There was also marked variability in the levels and types of help reported. Use of medication was generally more common than use of behavioural support, except where medications are not readily available.
Conclusions: There is wide variation across countries in rates of attempts to stop smoking and use of assistance with higher overall use of medication than behavioural support. There is also wide variation in the provision of brief advice to stop by health professionals.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2012. Smokefree cars to protect children and denormalise smoking: a mini-review of New Zealand literature
The Associate Minister of Health (Hon Tariana Turia) has signalled interest in the New Zealand Government developing legislation to protect child health by limiting smoking in cars with children.1 Such a move would be part of an international trend that has seen such laws covering most Australian states, Canadian Provinces and some US States (including California).2 3 It would also be consistent with other actions to limit hazards and improve safety within cars: compulsory seat belts, compulsory car seats for infants, and bans on mobile phone use while driving (as recently enacted by the last National Party-led Government in New Zealand). Smokefree cars would help reduce the burden of child illness, given the evidence for the role of secondhand smoke (SHS) in “sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, altered respiratory function, infection, cardiovascular effects, behaviour problems, sleep difficulties, increased cancer risk, and a higher likelihood of smoking initiation”.4 Reducing these impacts could in turn reduce both private and tax-payer funded health system costs (given international evidence on SHS impacts on health costs5–7). It is expected that the move would help reduce smoking uptake in children by providing positive smokefree modelling (given New Zealand evidence8 and international evidence4). To provide background and context to further policy-maker discussions on this topic, we tabulate the New Zealand literature relevant to smokefree car policies that we could identify on Medline and on health organisation websites in New Zealand (Table 1).[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2011. Smokers have varying misperceptions about the harmfulness of menthol cigarettes: National survey data [access full article]
Objective: 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 (New Zealand).
Methods: The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) utilises the NZ Health Survey (a national sample). From this sample we surveyed adult smokers, with Wave 2 (n=923) covering beliefs around menthol cigarettes.
Results: Agreement with the statement that “menthol cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes” was higher in smokers who were: older, Māori, Pacific, Asian, financially stressed and had higher levels of individual deprivation. Most of these associations were statistically significant in at least some of the logistic regression models (adjusting for socio-economic and smoking beliefs and behaviour). In the fully-adjusted model this belief was particularly elevated in Pacific smokers (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.36, 95% CI = 1.92 - 28.27) and also in menthol smokers (aOR = 4.58, 95% CI = 1.94-10.78). Most smokers in this study (56%), and especially menthol smokers (73%), believed that menthols are “smoother on your throat and chest”.
Conclusion: Various groups of smokers in this national sample had misperceptions around the relative harmfulness of menthols, which is consistent with most previous studies.
Implications: This evidence, along with a precautionary approach, supports arguments for enhanced regulation of tobacco marketing and tobacco ingredients such as menthol.[download PDF]
Thomson, et al. 2011. Strong smoker interest in 'setting example to children' by quitting: National survey data [access full article]
Objective: To further explore smoker views on reasons to quit.
Methods: As part of the multi-country ITC Project, a national sample of 1,376 New Zealand adult (18+ years) smokers was surveyed in 2007/08. This sample included boosted sampling of Māori, Pacific and Asian New Zealanders.
Results: 'Setting an example to children' was given as 'very much' a reason to quit by 51%, compared to 45% giving personal health concerns. However, the 'very much' and 'somewhat' responses (combined) were greater for personal health (81%) than 'setting an example to children' (74%). Price was the third ranked reason (67%). In a multivariate analysis, women were significantly more likely to state that 'setting an example to children' was 'very much' or 'somewhat' a reason to quit; as were Māori, or Pacific compared to European; and those suffering financial stress.
Conclusion: The relatively high importance of 'example to children' as a reason to quit is an unusual finding, and may have arisen as a result of social marketing campaigns encouraging cessation to protect families in New Zealand.
Implications: The policy implications could include a need for a greater emphasis on social reasons (e.g. 'example to children'), in pack warnings, and in social marketing for smoking cessation.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2011. Smokers commonly misperceive that nicotine is a major carcinogen: National survey data
Wilson, et al. 2010. Poorer mental health in many New Zealand smokers: National survey data from the ITC Project [access full article]
There is international evidence that smoking and poorer mental health are associated.1–5 This association has also been studied in New Zealand (e.g., in longitudinal studies6–8) with the most recent work indicating that smoking has a causal role in depressive symptoms.9 Furthermore, in this country it has been estimated that 33% of all cigarettes are consumed by people with current mental disorders.10 We were able to further explore some aspects of the smoking and mental health issue in New Zealand as part of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project).
Methods: The ITC Project (NZ arm) surveyed a nationally representative sample of adult smokers (n=1376 in Wave 1 in 2007/8, n=923 in Wave 2 in 2008/9). This study derives its sample from the New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) which is a national sample with boosted sampling of Māori, Pacific and Asian New Zealanders. We measured their mental health and alcohol use status using the SF-36, the Kessler-10 (K10), and the AUDIT. Also assessed were smoking-related beliefs and behaviours, including quit rates. Some comparisons were made with non-smoking participants in the NZHS. All results are weighted and adjusted for the complex sample design. Further details of the methods (including response rates, attrition and weighting processes) are available in online Methods Reports11-13 and related publications.14 15
Results: In terms of overall mental health, smokers had significantly lower SF-36 (mental health) scores (i.e., poorer mental health status) than the general adult population (80.6, 95%CI: 79.6–81.6; vs 82.2, 95%CI: 81.9–82.6). Reporting ever having been diagnosed with a mental disorder was significantly more common for adult smokers than for non-smokers (at 20.3%, 95%CI: 17.4% – 23.1%; vs 11.5%, 95%CI: 10.8%–12.2%). Here the non-smoker comparison group was from the full NZHS sample and “mental disorders” were any in a list of eight items used in the NZHS.[download PDF]
Hoek, et al. 2010. Lessons from New Zealand’s introduction of pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging [access full article]
While international evidence suggests that featuring pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging is an effective tobacco control intervention, the process used to introduce these new warnings has not been well documented. We examined relevant documents and interviewed officials responsible for this process in New Zealand. We found that, despite tobacco companies’ opposition to pictorial health warnings and the resource constraints facing health authorities, the implementation process was generally robust and successful. Potential lessons for other countries planning to introduce or refresh existing pictorial health warnings include: (i) strengthening the link between image research and policy; (ii) requiring frequent image development and refreshment; (iii) using larger pictures (e.g. 80% of the front of the packet); (iv) developing themes that recognize concerns held by different smoker sub-groups; and (v) running integrated mass media campaigns when the warnings are introduced. All countries could also support moves by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Secretariat to develop an international bank of copyright-free warnings.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Use of a national quitline and variation in use by smoker characteristics: ITC Project New Zealand [access full article]
Introduction: We aimed to describe use of a national quitline service and the variation in its use by smoker characteristics (particularly ethnicity and deprivation). The setting was New Zealand (NZ), which takes proactive measures to attract disadvantaged smokers to this service.
Methods: The NZ arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) utilizes the New Zealand Health Survey (a national sample) from which we surveyed adult smokers in two waves (N = 1,376 and N = 923) 1 year apart.
Results: Quitline use in the last 12 months rose from 8.1% (95% CI = 6.3%–9.8%) in Wave 1 to 11.2% (95% CI = 8.4%–14.0%) at Wave 2. Māori (the indigenous people of NZ) were significantly more likely to call the Quitline than were European/other smokers. Relatively higher call rates also occurred among those reporting higher deprivation, financial stress, a past mental health disorder, a past drug-related disorder, and higher psychological distress (Kessler 10-item index). Independent associations in the multivariate analyses of Quitline use were being Māori, reporting financial stress, and ever having been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
Discussion: This national Quitline service is successfully stimulating disproportionately more calls by Māori smokers and those with some measures of disadvantage. It may therefore be contributing to reducing health inequalities. It appears possible to target quitlines to reach those smokers in greatest need.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Smoker (mis)perceptions associated with pack colouring: National survey data [access full article]
Background—Several studies have concluded that “light” and “mild” descriptors on cigarette packs lead smokers to assume that cigarettes labelled in this way pose a lower health risk than “full flavour” or “regular” cigarettes.
In response to the bans several countries have imposed on these descriptors, the tobacco industry has introduced “colour coded” packs and specific pack colours for different brand variants,a pattern that is also evident in New Zealand. As a result, smokers have been conditioned to interpret lighter pack colours (e.g. white, silver or blue) to signify “lighter” cigarettes.
This is a health issue given that smokers mistakenly believe cigarettes from lightly coloured packs are less harmful and less addictive.We therefore aimed to determine how New Zealand smokers interpret cigarette pack colouring.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Marketing tobacco to New Zealand women: 8 ways to reflect on World No Tobacco Day [access full article]
Background—This year’s “World No Tobacco Day” on 31 May 2010
(“World Smokefree Day” in New Zealand) focuses on how tobacco is marketed to
women. This topic is particularly relevant given the current inquiry by the Māori
Affairs Select Committee into tobacco issues and the very high smoking prevalence
among Māori women.
Prior to middle age, the health consequences of women smoking are more serious
than those caused by male smokers. This is because of the impacts of smoking in
pregnancy to the fetus (e.g., perinatal mortality, low birth weight, preterm delivery
etc) and the effects of exposing infants and children to second-hand smoke (e.g.,
sudden infant death syndrome and asthma). Such impacts are experienced
disproportionately by Māori.
Evidence from the United States reveals tobacco companies have a long history of
marketing to women and brands such as Virginia Slims, Eve, Satin, Capri, and Misty
were specifically designed to appeal to women. Overt targeting of women led the US
Surgeon General to conclude that “tobacco industry marketing is a factor influencing
susceptibility to and initiation of smoking among girls”.
Evidence that tobacco companies have systematically and successfully recruited
female smokers has prompted us to investigate tobacco marketing to girls and women
in New Zealand, an area that has previously been analysed only very briefly[download PDF]
Young, et al. 2010. Prevalence, correlates of, and reasons for using roll-your-own tobacco in a high RYO use country: Findings from the ITC New Zealand Survey
Aim: To describe the prevalence, correlates of, and reasons for use of roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco in a high RYO use and ethnically diverse country: New Zealand (NZ).
Methods: The NZ arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) is sampled from the New Zealand Health Survey, with boosted sampling of Māori, Pacific peoples, and Asian New Zealanders. We surveyed 1,376 current adult smokers using standard ITC project procedures in 2007-2008.
Results: Prevalence of regularly smoking RYOs was 53% (with 38% of all smokers being exclusive RYO smokers). RYO use was higher among disadvantaged smokers, heavier smokers, those with a relatively low intention of quitting, and those with more friends who smoke. RYO use increased more in the youngest age groups as disadvantage increased. "Lower price" dominated the reasons smokers' cited for smoking RYOs (at 83%). About one fifth cited "less health concerns" as a reason.
Conclusions: RYO smoking is particularly associated with individual deprivation and high levels of dependence. Its capacity to blunt price signals provided by tobacco taxes is accompanied by misperceptions that it is less hazardous to health and it is particularly prevalent among vulnerable disadvantaged populations (including Māori, young people, and those with mental health problems). Governments should reconsider removing any tax advantages given to RYO tobacco, ensure RYO smokers are properly informed of health risks, and supported to quit as strongly as other smokers. However, governments should also examine a broader range of options including a higher differential tax on RYO tobacco, removing flavors, and controlling all tobacco marketing.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. What is behind smoker support for new smokefree areas? National survey data
Background: Some countries have started to extend indoor smokefree laws to cover cars and various outdoor settings. However, policy-modifiable factors around smoker support for these new laws are not well described.
Methods: The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) derives its sample from the NZ Health Survey (a national sample). From this sample we surveyed adult smokers (n = 1376).
Results: For the six settings considered, 59% of smokers supported at least three new completely smokefree areas. Only 2% favoured smoking being allowed in all the six new settings. Support among Maori, Pacific and Asian smokers relative to European smokers was elevated in multivariate analyses, but confidence intervals often included 1.0.
Also in the multivariate analyses, "strong support" by smokers for new smokefree area laws was associated with greater knowledge of the second-hand smoke (SHS) hazard, and with behaviours to reduce SHS exposure towards others. Strong support was also associated with reporting having smokefree cars (aOR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.21 - 2.34); and support for tobacco control regulatory measures by government (aOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.32 - 2.01). There was also stronger support by smokers with a form of financial stress (not spending on household essentials).
Conclusions: Smokers from a range of population groups can show majority support for new outdoor and smokefree car laws. Some of these findings are consistent with the use of public health strategies to support new smokefree laws, such as enhancing public knowledge of the second-hand smoke hazard.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Characteristics of smoker support for increasing a dedicated tobacco tax: National survey data from New Zealand
Aim: To examine smoker support for tobacco tax and for increased dedicated tobacco taxes, along with associations forany such support.
Methods: The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey utilizes the NZ Health Survey (a national sample). From this sample, we surveyed adult smokers (N = 1,376).
Results: Most smokers considered that the current level of tobacco tax is "too high" (68%), but a majority (59%) would support an increase in tobacco tax if the extra revenue was used to promote healthy lifestyles and support quitting. There was majority support for a dedicated tobacco tax increase among all sociodemographic groups of smokers (including Māori, Pacific, and Asian smokers). In the fully adjusted multivariate model, significant associations with support for a dedicated tax increase included higher deprivation level (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.15) and suffering one form of financial stress (AOR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.18-2.78). Other significant associations with support included concern about the smoking impacts on health and quality of life (AOR = 1.41), expressing support for tobacco control regulation (AOR = 1.83), and strength of intention to quit (AOR = 1.30).
Discussion: A majority of smokers from all sociodemographic groups supported an increase in tobacco tax if it was dedicated to quitting support and health promotion. The higher support among smokers with stronger intentions to quit is consistent with other evidence that smokers value tobacco control regulation such as high taxes to help them achieve their long-term quitting goals.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Increased smoker recognition of a national quitline number following introduction of improved pack warnings: ITC Project New Zealand
Introduction: We examined how recognition of a national quitline number changed after new health warnings were required on tobacco packaging in New Zealand (NZ).
Methods: The NZ arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) is a cohort study that surveyed smokers in two waves (N = 1,376 and N = 923). Wave 1 respondents were exposed to text-based warnings with a quitline number but no wording to indicate that it was the "Quitline" number. Wave 2 respondents were exposed to pictorial health warnings (PHWs) that included the word "Quitline" beside the number as well as a cessation message featuring the Quitline number and repeating the word "Quitline."
Results: The introduction of the new PHWs was associated with a 24 absolute percentage point between-wave increase in Quitline number recognition (from 37% to 61%, p < .001). Recognition increased from a minority of respondents to a majority for all age groups, genders, deprivation levels (using small area and individual measures), financial stress (two measures), and ethnic groups (e.g., the level for Maori in Wave 2: 62%, Pacific peoples: 61%, and European/other: 62%). There was also an equalizing effect on previous differences in Quitline recognition by gender, ethnic group, and for both deprivation measures.
Discussion: This study provides some evidence for the value of clearly identifying quitline numbers on tobacco packaging as part of PHWs. While this finding is consistent with previously published studies, the finding that this intervention appeared to benefit all sociodemographic groups is novel.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Long-term benefit of increasing the prominence of a quitline number on cigarette packaging: 3 years of Quitline call data
Wilson, et al. 2010. High support for a tobacco endgame by Pacific peoples who smoke: National survey data
Wilson, et al. 2010. High and increased support by Maori and non-Maori smokers for a ban on point-of-sale tobacco displays: National survey data
Wilson, et al. 2009. Smoker support for increased (if dedicated) tobacco tax by individual deprivation level: National survey data (Letter) [access full article]
Increasing the price of tobacco products through tobacco taxation is one of the most effective tobacco control interventions.1 An additional benefit is that a “dedicated tobacco tax” (where some or all of the revenue raised is earmarked for specific spending or programmes) can generate revenue for funding other tobacco control and health programmes.2 3 Should dedicated tobacco taxes be introduced, it will be useful for decision makers to know whether there is support from all sociodemographic categories of smokers. Accordingly, we aimed to examine smoker support for tobacco taxes by an individual level measure of deprivation.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2009. Smoker misperceptions around tobacco: National survey data with particular relevance to protecting Maori health [access full article]
To evaluate relevant issues around smoker knowledge and misperceptions about tobacco smoking, a cohort group of 1376 New Zealand smoking adults aged >18 years and 607 Maori respondents were surveyed between March 2007 and February 2008. Specific questions relevant to possible misinformation included perceptions related to light/mild cigarettes/tobacco, to menthols, and to RYO tobacco. Overall results indicated that sizeable minorities of both Maori and European/other smokers had various misperceptions about tobacco products. Regarding light and mild cigarettes, nearly half (48%) of Maori smokers have at least one of three misperceptions which suggest (erroneously) that these cigarettes have health benefits compared to “regular” cigarettes. Also, New Zealand smokers have misperceptions about mentholated cigarettes (“menthols”) being less harmful relative to “non-mentholated” cigarettes. This misperception was significantly more common (13% vs 7%) among Maori smokers. In addition, a minority (up to 10%) of Maori smokers also have specific misperceptions about the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke. Around a fifth of Maori and European/other smokers gave health reasons for smoking RYO cigarettes. Smokers also have high levels of knowledge deficits and misperceptions around smokeless tobacco products. Finally, a substantial group of smokers agree or strongly agree that “tobacco companies have done everything they can to reduce the harm caused by smoking,” and Maori smokers were significantly more likely to have this view (24%) compared to 18% of European/other. In conclusion, these data on smoker misperceptions are likely to be associated with tobacco industry messages on packaging.[download PDF]
Peace, et al. 2009. Survey of descriptors on cigarette packs: Still misleading consumers? [access full article]
Aim: In September 2008, the New Zealand (NZ) Commerce Commission issued a warning to the major tobacco companies to remove “light” and “mild” descriptors from cigarette packaging. Despite published evidence that suggested tobacco companies had started colour-coding their packs in anticipation of the Commission's decision, the investigation did not consider more general misleading packaging. This study explored changes in tobacco packaging that had been introduced to the New Zealand market, by surveying descriptors used on cigarette packs after the Commerce Commission's warning.
Method: A convenience sample of discarded cigarette packs were collected in four cities and six towns/rural areas between November 2008 and January 2009. The majority of packs (93%) were collected in the capital city (Wellington). Information on the descriptors and pack colours was analysed.
Results: Four percent of the 1208 packs collected still included the terms “light” and “mild”. Almost half the packs (42%) used a colour word (e.g. red, blue, gold) as a descriptor to indicate mildness or strength. A further 18% used other words that suggested mildness/strength (e.g. “subtle”, “mellow”). A quarter of packs used a descriptor that did not connote either mildness or strength; however, the majority of these packs still appeared to be colour-coded.
Conclusion: Although the words “light” and “mild” have been largely removed from tobacco packaging in the New Zealand market, these words have been replaced with associated colours or other words that may continue to communicate “reduced harm” messages to consumers. Further research to test how smokers interpret the new words and colours, and how these influence their behaviour, is desirable. However, government-mandated generic (plain) packaging would remove the opportunity to communicate misleading claims and so would afford the highest level of consumer protection.[download PDF]