The Ministry of Health will be commissioning a review of the impact of tobacco tax increases. This will include specific analysis of the existing policies, their effectiveness for Māori and Pacific people and how tobacco tax correlates with outcomes like crime and financial loss.
From today New Zealand legislation prevents the tobacco industry from using branding on their cigarette packaging. This marks the first day of a 12 week ‘wash out’ period in cleansing the market of existing stock and introducing plain packaging. These changes will mean tobacco packets will be the same standard dark brown/green colour as seen in Australia and the U.K; graphic pictures and health warnings will be enlarged to cover at least 75% of the front of tobacco packs, and all tobacco company marketing imagery will be removed.
A recent study has sought to understand smoking trends among nurses and doctors in New Zealand and has identified disparities between Māori and non-Māori healthcare workers. The Otago University study, led by Professor Richard Edwards and colleagues, found that by 2013 doctors and the majority of nursing sectors had achieved the Smokefree 2025 goal of less than 5% smoking prevalence. However, the smoking rate of Māori nurses in particular remained high.
This week the Ministry of Health is taking tobacco giant Philip Morris to court. The Ministry of Health has laid charges against the New Zealand subsidiary of the multinational tobacco company relating to the importation and selling of its tobacco sticks known as HEETS.
The government has recently supported new fog cannon technology to deter theft in small stores like dairies. This technology has come about in response to the raised level of tobacco and cash-related violence used to gain entry into shops.
Fog cannon or ‘smoke screen’ security works by releasing a dense fog, usually a glycerine mixed with distilled water, hiding valuables and disorientating the intruder. The sudden release of smoke is intended to shock and confuse the intruder, forcing them to retreat from the property before taking any items.
The Lotteries Commission (Lotto) recently released an augmented reality (AR) app to coincide with Chinese New Year. The app links to an instant kiwi 'scratchie' which is purchased at retail outlets.
A New Zealand study has found that some people still find quitting smoking difficult, even when vaping is offered as a smoking cessation intervention. The Otago University study involved in-depth interviews with 20 vapers who still smoked traditional cigarettes regularly, in addition to vaping.
New research has been released which shows that vaping in New Zealand is a popular alternative for those wanting to quit smoking tobacco. A recent survey on vapers was conducted by Dr Penny Truman and colleagues at Massey University.
The excise tax on tobacco products increased on January 1 2018, but the increase hasn't been passed on to all retail products. New Zealand's largest Māori Public Health organisation, Hāpai Te Hauora, is concerned that this will limit the effectiveness of the tax increase to reduce smoking rates, and that tobacco companies should be forced to increase the prices of their products by the total percentage of the tax increase and the consumer price index (CPI).
Alcohol Healthwatch and Maori Public Health provider Hapai te Hauora strongly support the new Government’s commitment to addressing the growing needs and inequities surrounding mental health and addictions.
Anthony Hawke of Hapai te Hauora says, “The announcement of the Mental Health Inquiry is opportune as we mark the 5th birthday of our new liquor laws. The links between our growing problem with drinking and poor mental health need to be addressed. The Government was right to include addictions into the inquiry into mental health. In 2012 we had the chance to raise the price of alcohol and save lives. We didn't. Our communities paid the price. Now is the time for this to be remedied.”