Background. The violent deaths of media workers is a critical issue worldwide, especially in areas of political and social instability. Such deaths can be a particular concern as they may undermine the development and functioning of an open and democratic society.
Method. Data on the violent deaths of media workers in Iraq for ten years (2003–2012) were systematically collated from five international databases. Analyses included time trends, weapons involved, nationality of the deceased, outcome for perpetrators and location of death.
Results. During this ten-year period, there were 199 violent deaths of media workers in Iraq. The annual number increased substantially after the invasion in 2003 (peaking at n = 47 in 2007) and then declined (n = 5 in 2012). The peak years (2006–2007) for these deaths matched the peak years for estimated violent deaths among civilians. Most of the media worker deaths (85%) were Iraqi nationals. Some were killed whilst on assignment in the field (39%) and 28% involved a preceding threat. Common perpetrators of the violence were: political groups (45%), and coalition forces (9%), but the source of the violence was often unknown (29%). None of the perpetrators have subsequently been prosecuted (as of April 2014). For each violent death of a media worker, an average of 3.1 other people were also killed in the same attack (range 0–100 other deaths).
Discussion. This analysis highlights the high number of homicides of media workers in Iraq in this conflict period, in addition to the apparently total level of impunity. One of the potential solutions may be establishing a functioning legal system that apprehends offenders and puts them on trial. The relatively high quality of data on violent deaths in this occupational group, suggests that it could act as one sentinel population within a broader surveillance system of societal violence in conflict zones.
Media worker; Iraq; Epidemiology; Surveillance; Violent death
We retrospectively compared glycemic control and glycemic burden in type 2 diabetes patients treated by general physicians with access to decision support with those treated by general physicians without access to decision support.
A total of 875 patients [471 (53.8%) males] aged 54.3 [standard deviation (SD) 13.1] years followed up over 84 months. A total of 342 patients (39%) were managed with decision support, and effects on glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were assessed.
There was no difference between groups in starting HbA1c [7.6 (SD 1.8) versus 7.5 (SD 1.5); p = not significant] at baseline. Patients treated with decision support were more likely to have planned review of HbA1c, adjustment of medication, prescription of statins, dietetic and nurse educator inputs (71.3% versus 58.5%; Chi squared = 14.7; p =.001). The mean HbA1c in the group treated with decision support was not significantly reduced within the first year [7.5% (SD 1.8) versus 7.6% (SD 1.5); p = not significant; 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.33 to 0.17], but statistically significant differences were apparent at year 2 [7.2% (SD 2.0) versus 8% (SD 3.4); p = .0001; 95% CI −1.3 to −0.5] and sustained through year 3 [7.2% (SD 2.0) versus 8.0% (SD 2.0); p = .0001; 95% CI −1.2 to −0.6], year 4 [7.2% (SD 2.3) versus 8.2% (SD 2.5); p = .0001; 95% CI −1.2 to −0.6], year 5 [7.0% (SD 2.3) versus 8.3% (SD 2.6); p = .001; 95% CI −1.5 to −0.8], year 6 [7.0% (SD 2.0) versus 8.2% (SD 2.4); p = .001; 95% CI −1.5 to −0.9], and year 7 [6.9% (SD 1.2) versus 8% (SD 1.8); p = .001; 95% CI −1.4 to −1.0].
Use of a decision support system showed benefits in adherence to clinical care pathways and achieving significant improvements in glycemic control.
bundles of care; clinical decision system; electronic health record; type 2 diabetes mellitus
The influence of visual exposure to health-related behaviours, such as smoking, is increasingly acknowledged in the public health literature. Social contagion or normalisation is thought to operate through the visibility of those behaviours. There has been a lack of systematic and comprehensive approaches to quantifying visual exposure to these behaviours over a relatively large geographic area. We describe the novel application of a geographic tool, viewshed analysis, to estimate visual exposure to smoking outside bars/cafés across a downtown area.
Smoking was observed for different times and days of the week at 14 outdoor areas of bars/cafés throughout downtown Wellington, New Zealand. We used these data to extrapolate to other bars/cafés with outdoor seating. We then conducted viewshed analyses to estimate visual exposure to smoking at bars/cafés for all public outdoor spaces.
We observed a smoking point prevalence of 16%. Visibility analyses indicated that estimated visible smoking was highest in the evenings (7-8 pm), where the average values across Wednesday and Friday ranged from zero up to 92 visible smokers (mean = 1.44). Estimated visible smoking at midday ranged from zero to 13 (mean = 0.27). Values were also higher at the end of the week compared with midweek in the evening. Maps indicate that streets with high levels of retail shops and hospitality areas had high values of estimated visible smokers, particularly in the evening where numbers were consistently above 50.
This paper highlights a useful method for measuring the extent of visual exposure to smoking behaviours across relatively large areas using a geospatial approach. Applying this method in other locations would require consideration of place-specific characteristics which impact on visibility and could be improved through more sophisticated extrapolation of observational data across the study area. The findings of this and similar research could ultimately support the expansion of smokefree public spaces.
Background. Transportation settings such as bus stops and train station platforms are increasingly the target for new smokefree legislation. Relevant issues include secondhand smoke exposure, nuisance, litter, fire risks and the normalization of smoking. We therefore aimed to pilot study aspects of smoking behavior and butt disposal at bus stops.
Methods. Systematic observation of smoking and butt disposal by smokers at bus stops. The selection of 11 sites was a mix of convenience and purposeful (bus stops on main routes) in two New Zealand cities.
Results. During 27 h of observation, a total of 112 lit cigarettes were observed being smoked. Smoking occurred in the presence of: just adults (46%), both young people and adults (44%), just young people (6%) and alone (5%). An average of 6.3 adults and 3.8 young people were present at the bus stops while smoking occurred, at average minimum distances of 1.7 and 2.2 m respectively. In bus stops that included an enclosed shelter, 33% of the cigarettes were smoked inside the shelter with others present. Littering was the major form of cigarette disposal with 84% of cigarettes smoked being littered (95% CI; 77%–90%). Also, 4% of disposals were into vegetation, which may pose a fire risk.
Conclusions. This pilot study is limited by its small size and various methodological aspects but it appears to be a first attempt to provide observational evidence around smoking at bus stops. The issues described could be considered by policy makers who are investigating national smokefree laws or by-laws covering transportation settings.
Smoking; Tobacco control; Transportation; Observational study
There is increasing interest in ending the tobacco epidemic and in applying ‘endgame’ solutions to achieve that goal at national levels. We explored the understanding of, and reactions to, a tobacco-free vision and an endgame approach to tobacco control among New Zealand smokers and non-smokers.
We recruited participants in four focus groups held in June 2009: Māori (indigenous people) smokers (n=7); non-Māori smokers (n=6); Māori non-smokers (n=7); and non-Māori non-smokers (n=4). Participants were from the city of Whanganui, New Zealand. We introduced to them the vision of a tobacco-free New Zealand and the concept of a semi-autonomous agency (Tobacco-Free Commission [TFC]) that would control the tobacco market as part of an endgame approach.
There was mostly strong support for the tobacco-free New Zealand vision among all groups of participants. The reason most commonly given for supporting the vision was to protect children from tobacco. Most participants stated that they understood the TFC concept and reacted positively to it. Nevertheless, rather than focusing on organisational or structural arrangements, participants tended to focus on supporting the specific measures which a future TFC might facilitate such as plain packaging of tobacco products. Various concerns were also raised around the TFC, particularly around the feasibility of its establishment.
We were able to successfully communicate a complex and novel supply-side focused tobacco control policy intervention to smokers and non-smokers. The findings add to the evidence from national surveys that there is public support, including from smokers, for achieving a tobacco-free vision and using regulatory and policy measures to achieve it. Support for such measures may be enhanced if they are clearly communicated and explained with a rationale which stresses protecting children and future generations from tobacco smoking.
Tobacco control strategies have mainly targeted reducing demand. Supply-side focused measures, though less familiar, deserve consideration, particularly to achieve 'endgame' tobacco control aims (e.g. achieving close to zero smoking prevalence). We explored attitudes towards supply-side focused 'endgame' tobacco control approaches and how they can be best communicated with senior policymakers, journalists, and public health practitioners.
We identified five supply-side focused approaches which could potentially lead to the tobacco endgame: two structural models and three discrete actions. The structural models were: (i) a Nicotine Authority to coordinate tobacco control activities and regulate the nicotine/tobacco market for public health aims; and (ii) a Tobacco Supply Agency acting as a monopoly purchaser of tobacco products and controlling the tobacco supply for public health aims. The actions were: (a) allocating progressively reducing tobacco product import quotas (the 'sinking lid') until importation and commercial sale of tobacco products ceased; (b) making tobacco companies responsible for reducing smoking prevalence with stringent financial penalties if targets were missed; and (c) new laws to facilitate litigation against tobacco companies. These approaches were presented as means to achieve a tobacco free New Zealand by 2020 to 19 senior policymakers, journalists, and public health physicians in two focus groups and eight interviews, and their reactions sought.
The tobacco-free vision was widely supported. Participants engaged fully with the proposed tobacco control approaches, which were viewed as interesting or even intriguing. Most supported increasing the focus on supply-side measures. Views differed greatly about the desirability, feasibility and likely effectiveness of each approach. Participants identified a range of potential barriers to implementation and challenges to successfully advocating and communicating these approaches. The current framing of tobacco as a risky but legal commodity was noted as an important potential barrier to implementing endgame approaches.
Endgame tobacco control approaches were considered to be viable policy options. Further policy analysis, research and public discussion are needed to develop endgame approaches. A significant change in the public framing of tobacco may be a prerequisite for implementing endgame solutions.
The normality of smoking that children are exposed to is associated with increased risk of smoking uptake. To better understand policymaking that could address this issue, our aim was to identify and document the views of New Zealand policymakers regarding the example of smoking behaviour to children, and the policy responses they preferred.
We analysed public documents for relevant statements, and conducted semi-structured anonymous interviews with 62 purposively selected policymakers. We identified views of New Zealand policymakers regarding: the example to children of adult smoking behaviour, and the policy responses they preferred.
In both public statements and anonymous interviews, policymakers demonstrated that they perceived a clear relationship between the example of smoking and children taking up smoking. However, they showed a general unwillingness to support further smokefree legislation in areas frequented by children. Rather, they preferred to educate adults about their impact as models for youth behaviour.
Health advocates in New Zealand and elsewhere may require more evidence of the effect of relevant legislation and of public support, and wider alliances, to significantly move policies specifically to reduce the example of smoking.
Governments use law to constrain aspects of private activities for purposes of protecting health and social wellbeing. Policymakers have a range of perceptions and beliefs about what is public or private. An understanding of the possible drivers of policymaker decisions about where government can or should intervene for health is important, as one way to better guide appropriate policy formation. Our aim was to identify obstacles to, and opportunities for, government smokefree regulation of private and public spaces to protect children. In particular, to seek policymaker opinions on the regulation of smoking in homes, cars and public parks and playgrounds in a country with incomplete smokefree laws (New Zealand).
Case study, using structured interviews to ask policymakers (62 politicians and senior officials) about their opinions on new smokefree legislation for public and private places. Supplementary data was obtained from the Factiva media database, on the views of New Zealand local authority councillors about policies for smokefree outdoor public places.
Overall, interviewees thought that government regulation of smoking in private places was impractical and unwise. However, there were some differences on what was defined as 'private', particularly for cars. Even in public parks, smoking was seen by some as a 'personal' decision, and unlikely to be amenable to regulation. Most participants believed that educative, supportive and community-based measures were better and more practical means of reducing smoking in private places, compared to regulation.
The constrained view of the role of regulation of smoking in public and private domains may be in keeping with current political discourse in New Zealand and similar Anglo-American countries. Policy and advocacy options to promote additional smokefree measures include providing a better voice for childrens' views, increasing information to policymakers about the harms to children from secondhand smoke and the example of adult smoking, and changing the culture for smoking around children.
To examine the content and trends of safety‐related consumer information in magazine vehicle advertisements, as a case study within the worldwide marketing of vehicles.
Content analysis of popular current affairs magazines in New Zealand for the 5‐year period 2001–2005 was undertaken (n = 514 advertisements), supplemented with vehicle data from official websites.
Safety information in advertisements for light passenger vehicles was relatively uncommon with only 27% mentioning one or more of nine key safety features examined (average: 1.7 out of nine features in this 27%). Also included were potentially hazardous features of: speed imagery (in 29% of advertisements), power references (14%), and acceleration data (4%). The speed and power aspects became relatively more common over the 5‐year period (p < 0.05 for trend).
To enhance informed consumer choice and improve injury prevention, governments should consider regulating the content of vehicle advertisements and vehicle marketing – as already occurs with many other consumer products.
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.
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).
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).
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.
To establish a reproducible method to estimate he point prevalence of smoking and second‐hand smoke (SHS) exposure in cars, and to compare this prevalence between two areas of contrasting socioeconomic status.
A method involving two teams of observers was developed and evaluated. It involved observing 16 055 cars in Wellington, New Zealand. Two of the observation sites represented a high and a low area of deprivation (based on a neighbourhood deprivation index) and three were in the central city.
A 4.1% point prevalence of smoking in cars was observed (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.8% to 4.4%). There was a higher prevalence of smoking in cars in the high deprivation area relative to the other sites, and particularly compared to the low deprivation area (rate ratio relative to the latter 3.2, 95% CI 2.6 to 4.0). Of cars with smoking, 23.7% had other occupants being exposed to SHS. Cars with smoking and other occupants were significantly more likely to have a window open (especially if the smoker was not the driver). The observation method developed was practical, and inter‐observer agreement was high (κ value for the “smoking seen in car” category 0.95).
Observational studies can be an effective way of investigating smoking in cars. The data from this survey suggest that smoking in cars occurs at a higher rate in relatively deprived populations and hence may contribute to health inequalities. Fortunately, there are a number of policy options for reducing SHS exposure in cars including mass media campaigns and laws for smoke‐free cars.
tobacco smoking; second‐hand smoke; cars; motor vehicles; observational study
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) acts as a cellular fuel gauge that responds to energy stress by suppressing cell growth and biosynthetic processes, thus ensuring that energy-consuming processes proceed only if there are sufficient metabolic resources. Malfunction of the AMPK pathway may allow cancer cells to undergo uncontrolled proliferation irrespective of their molecular energy levels. The aim of this study was to examine the state of AMPK phosphorylation histologically in primary breast cancer in relation to clinical and pathological parameters.
Immunohistochemistry was performed using antibodies to phospho-AMPK (pAMPK), phospho-Acetyl Co-A Carboxylase (pACC) an established target for AMPK, HER2, ERα, and Ki67 on Tissue Micro-Array (TMA) slides of two cohorts of 117 and 237 primary breast cancers. The quick score method was used for scoring and patterns of protein expression were compared with clinical and pathological data, including a minimum 5 years follow up.
Reduced signal, compared with the strong expression in normal breast epithelium, using a pAMPK antibody was demonstrated in 101/113 (89.4%) and 217/236 (91.9%) of two cohorts of patients. pACC was significantly associated with pAMPK expression (p = 0.007 & p = 0.014 respectively). For both cohorts, reduced pAMPK signal was significantly associated with higher histological grade (p = 0.010 & p = 0.021 respectively) and axillary node metastasis (p = 0.061 & p = 0.039 respectively). No significant association was found between pAMPK and any of HER2, ERα, or Ki67 expression, disease-free survival or overall survival.
This study extends in vitro evidence through immunohistochemistry to confirm that AMPK is dysfunctional in primary breast cancer. Reduced signalling via the AMPK pathway, and the inverse relationship with histological grade and axillary node metastasis, suggests that AMPK re-activation could have therapeutic potential in breast cancer.
To test the hypothesis that tobacco companies would not follow a regulation that required seven new graphic health warnings (GHWs) to be evenly distributed on cigarette packs and that they would distribute fewer packs featuring warnings regarded by smokers as being more disturbing.
Cross-sectional survey of purchased packs (n = 168) and street-collected discarded packs (convenience sample of New Zealand cities and towns, n = 1208 packs) with statistical analysis of seven types of new GHWs. A priori warning impact was judged using three criteria, which were tested against data from depth interviews with retailers.
The GHWs on the purchased packs and street-collected packs both showed a distribution pattern that was generally consistent with the hypothesis ie, there were disproportionately more packs featuring images judged as "least disturbing" and disproportionately fewer of those with warnings judged "more disturbing". The overall patterns were statistically significant, suggesting an unequal frequency of the different warnings for both purchased (p < 0.0001) and street-collected packs (p = 0.035). One of the least disturbing images (of a "corpse with toe-tag") dominated the distribution in both samples. Further analysis of the street-collected packs revealed that this image appeared disproportionately more frequently on manufactured cigarettes made by each of the three largest New Zealand tobacco companies. Although stock clustering could explain the purchase pack result, there were no obvious reasons why the same uneven warning distribution was also evident among the street-collected packs.
These results suggest that tobacco companies are not following the regulations, which requires even distribution of the seven different GHWs on cigarette packs; further monitoring is required to estimate the extent of this non-compliance. As an immediate measure, governments should strictly enforce all regulations applying to health warnings, particularly given that these are an effective tobacco control intervention that cost tax payers nothing.
Many smokers believe that "light" cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, which is at variance with the scientific evidence. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aims to address this problem in Article 11 which deals with misleading labelling of tobacco products. In this study we aimed to determine smokers' use and beliefs concerning "light" and "mild" cigarettes ("lights"), including in relation to ethnicity, deprivation and other socio-demographic characteristics.
The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) uses as its sampling frame the NZ Health Survey. This is a national sample with boosted sampling of Maori, Pacific peoples and Asians. From this sample we surveyed adult smokers (n = 1376) about use and beliefs relating to "light" cigarettes. We assessed the associations with smoking "lights" after adjusting for socio-demographic variables, and smoking-related behaviours and beliefs.
Many smokers of "lights" believed that smoking "lights" made it easier to quit smoking (25%), that "lights" are less harmful (42%), and that smokers of "lights" take in less tar (43%). Overall most "lights" smokers (60%) had at least one of these three beliefs, a proportion significantly higher than for smokers of "regular" cigarettes at 45% (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.29 – 2.96). While "lights" smokers had significantly lower tobacco consumption and were more aware of smoking harms, they were no more likely to be intending to quit or have made a previous quit attempt.
By ethnicity, both Maori and Pacific people were less likely to smoke "lights" than Europeans (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.35 – 0.80 and aOR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.05 – 0.40 respectively). In contrast there was no significant difference by level of deprivation. Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco smokers were less likely to smoke "light" forms of RYO tobacco while both older and women smokers were more likely to smoke "lights".
Most "lights" smokers have one or more misperceptions about the product they use, and were no more likely to intend to quit or to have made a quit attempt. In response to such misperceptions, governments could act further to eliminate all misleading tobacco marketing. Ideally, they could not only adopt FCTC requirements, but go further by requiring plain packaging for all tobacco products.
Smokefree environments legislation is increasingly being implemented around the world. Evaluations largely find that the legislation is popular, compliance is high and report improved air quality and reduced exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). The impact of the legislation on disadvantaged groups, including indigenous peoples has not been explored. We present findings from a multifaceted evaluation of the impact of the smokefree workplace provisions of the New Zealand Smokefree Environments Amendment Act on Māori people in New Zealand. Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Smokefree Environments Amendment Act extended existing smokefree legislation to almost all indoor workplaces in December 2004 (including restaurants and pubs/bars).
Review of existing data and commissioned studies to identify evidence for the evaluation of the new legislation: including attitudes and support for the legislation; stakeholders views about the Act and the implementation process; impact on SHS exposure in workplaces and other settings; and impact on smoking-related behaviours.
Support for the legislation was strong among Māori and reached 90% for smokefree restaurants and 84% for smokefree bars by 2006. Māori stakeholders interviewed were mostly supportive of the way the legislation had been introduced. Reported exposure to SHS in workplaces decreased similarly in Māori and non-Māori with 27% of employed adult Māori reporting SHS exposure indoors at work during the previous week in 2003 and 9% in 2006. Exposure to SHS in the home declined, and may have decreased more in Māori households containing one or more smokers. For example, the proportion of 14–15 year old Māori children reporting that smoking occurred in their home fell from 47% in 2001 to 37% in 2007. Similar reductions in socially-cued smoking occurred among Māori and non-Māori. Evidence for the effect on smoking prevalence was mixed. Māori responded to the new law with increased calls to the national Quitline service.
The New Zealand Smokefree Environments Amendment Act had a range of positive effects, including reducing SHS exposure among Māori communities. If the experience is replicated in other countries with indigenous populations, it suggests that comprehensive smokefree environments legislation will have beneficial effects on the health of indigenous groups and could contribute to reducing inequalities in health within societies.
To identify and evaluate the options for population level government policies to increase the prevalence of homes free of secondhand smoke.
The literature was searched for population level policy options and evidence on them. Three criteria were used to evaluate the policy options: effectiveness, the reductions on inequalities in secondhand smoke exposure, and cost effectiveness. The setting was four developed, English speaking jurisdictions: Britain, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
Evidence from all four countries shows some association between relatively comprehensive tobacco control programmes and lower prevalence levels of smoking in homes. The evidence of the effect of such programmes on inequalities in smokefree home prevalence is limited. No published evidence was found of the cost effectiveness of the programmes in achieving changes in smokefree homes. Within comprehensive programmes, there is some indirect evidence that some mass media campaigns could increase the prevalence of smokefree homes. Structural options that have potential to support smokefree homes include smokefree places legislation, and laws for the protection of children.
The available evidence to date suggests that comprehensive tobacco control programmes (to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the total population) are likely to be the most effective and sustainable option for increasing the prevalence of smokefree homes.
tobacco smoke pollution; homes
The advertising of vehicles has been studied from a safety perspective but not in terms of vehicle air pollutants. We aimed to examine the content and trends of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution-related information, in light passenger vehicle advertisements.
Content analysis of the two most popular current affairs magazines in New Zealand for the five year period 2001–2005 was undertaken (n = 514 advertisements). This was supplemented with vehicle data from official websites.
The advertisements studied provided some information on fuel type (52%), and engine size (39%); but hardly any provided information on fuel efficiency (3%), or emissions (4%). Over the five-year period the reported engine size increased significantly, while fuel efficiency did not improve.
For the vehicles advertised, for which relevant official website data could be obtained, the average "greenhouse rating" for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was 5.1, with a range from 0.5 to 8.5 (on a scale with 10 being the best and 0.5 being the most polluting). The average CO2 emissions were 50% higher than the average for cars made by European manufacturers. The average "air pollution" rating for the advertised vehicles was 5.4 (on the same 1–10 scale). The yearly averages for the "greenhouse" or "air pollution" ratings did not change significantly over the five-year period. One advertised hybrid vehicle had a fuel consumption that was under half the average (4.4 versus 9.9 L/100 km), as well as the best "greenhouse" and "air pollution" ratings.
To enhance informed consumer choice and to control greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions, governments should introduce regulations on the content of vehicle advertisements and marketing (as started by the European Union). Similar regulations are already in place for the marketing of many other consumer products.
We investigated the ways in which research evidence about the health effects from secondhand smoke (SHS) and smokefree policies was publicly used or regarded by New Zealand parliamentary politicians, during efforts to strengthen a smokefree law (ie, from 1997 to 2005).
A documentary case study used published and unpublished material recording the use of research evidence by politicians. The material was collected for the period 1997–2005 from the parliamentary record, media and other databases. Additional searches were made to provide context for the politicians who used research.
Major themes identified included: (a) the employment of local estimates of SHS mortality, (b) linking specific health effects (eg, cancer) to SHS exposure, (c) a focus on the use of research relevant to bar workers, and (d) the use of research to downgrade the health effects, and attacks on the credibility of research showing health effects from SHS. Almost half of the 21 Members of Parliament (MPs), who spoke in parliament about SHS research during 2000–2005, denied or were sceptical about SHS harm. At least five MPs used tobacco industry funded or disseminated versions of research. There was some indirect evidence that the degree of exposure to the health sector, or the tobacco industry and its allies, may have been factors in the use by MPs of the research.
The willingness of some of this group of politicians to adopt tobacco industry arguments suggests possible options within health promotion. These include the better enforcement of consumer protection laws (preventing deceptive information by the tobacco industry and its allies), and the adoption of an increased focus on tobacco industry behaviour within tobacco control efforts. These moves may have beneficial effects for the use of research in public health policymaking. The strengthening by the health sector of its advocacy capacity and effectiveness may also be a crucial step in the better use of research by politicians in the policymaking process.
The actions of policymakers are critical to advancing tobacco control. To evaluate the feasibility of using anonymous in-depth interviews to ascertain policymakers' knowledge about, and attitudes to, the tobacco industry, we undertook a pilot study involving New Zealand policymakers.
Five politicians (from different political parties) and five senior officials, who were involved in tobacco control policy, were recruited for semi-structured, anonymous, face-to-face interviews.
Recruitment of appropriate senior policymakers was found to be possible. Interviewees were willing to answer questions fully and frankly about their knowledge and views of the tobacco industry.
The preliminary data from this pilot suggest that some New Zealand politicians appeared to see contact with the industry as similar to contact with other groups, whereas the officials indicated at least a different style of relationship. Only one politician knew if their party accepted funding from tobacco companies. All but one of the interviewees thought that promotion of tobacco to under-16 s still occurs, albeit indirectly. The interviewees' knowledge of the investment in tobacco industries by New Zealand government agencies was low or absent.
While most of those interviewed showed scepticism about tobacco company public relations efforts, this was absent in some cases. There was a wide understanding that the tobacco industry will use many tactics in the pursuit of profit, and to counteract government efforts to reduce the harm from smoking.
In-depth anonymous interviews appear to be feasible and can be productive for exploring sensitive tobacco-related policy issues with policymakers. The preliminary data from this group of New Zealand policymakers suggest important knowledge gaps, but also general distrust of this industry. From a tobacco control perspective, the results may suggest a greater focus by advocates on the funding of political parties by the tobacco industry, and on government agency investment in the tobacco industry.
A law making all indoor workplaces including bars and restaurants smokefree became operational in New Zealand in December 2004. New Zealand has a national free-phone Quitline Service which has been operational since 1999. Previous work has shown that the number of calls to the Quitline are influenced by marketing of the service through media campaigns. We set out to investigate if the smokefree law increased calls to the Quitline.
For 24 months prior to the law, and 12 months after the law, data were collected on: (i) Quitline caller registrations and the issuing of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) vouchers by the Quitline Service; (ii) expenditure on Quitline-related television advertising; (iii) expenditure on other smokefree television advertising; and (iv) print media coverage of smoking in major New Zealand newspapers. These data were inputs to a time series analysis using a Box-Jenkins transfer function model. This used the law change as the intervention variable, with the response series being the monthly Quitline caller rates and monthly first time NRT voucher issue rates.
The monthly rates of Quitline caller registrations and NRT voucher issues were observed to increase in the months after the law change. The increase in both these outcomes was even greater when considered in terms of per level of Quitline advertising expenditure (though these patterns may have partly reflected marked reductions in advertising expenditure at the time of the law change and hence are of limited validity).
In the more robust time series analyses, the law change (intervention variable) had a significant effect (p = 0.025) on increasing the monthly caller registration rate in December 2004. This was after adjusting for the possible effects of Quitline advertising expenditure, print media coverage, and other smoking-related advertising expenditure.
The new national smokefree law resulted in increased quitting-related behaviour. This would suggest there is an extra opportunity for health agencies to promote quitting at such times.
Smoking in film is a risk factor for smoking uptake in adolescence. This study aimed to quantify exposure to smoking in film received by New Zealand audiences, and evaluate potential interventions to reduce the quantity and impact of this exposure.
The ten highest-grossing films in New Zealand for 2003 were each analysed independently by two viewers for smoking, smoking references and related imagery. Potential interventions were explored by reviewing relevant New Zealand legislation, and scientific literature.
Seven of the ten films contained at least one tobacco reference, similar to larger film samples. The majority of the 38 tobacco references involved characters smoking, most of whom were male. Smoking was associated with positive character traits, notably rebellion (which may appeal to adolescents). There appeared to be a low threshold for including smoking in film. Legislative or censorship approaches to smoking in film are currently unlikely to succeed. Anti-smoking advertising before films has promise, but experimental research is required to demonstrate cost effectiveness.
Smoking in film warrants concern from public health advocates. In New Zealand, pre-film anti-smoking advertising appears to be the most promising immediate policy response.
Sports sponsorship is a significant marketing tool. As such, it can promote products that pose risks to health (eg, high fat and high sugar foods) or it can promote health-supporting products (eg, sporting equipment and services). However, there is a lack of data on the proportion of sponsorship associated with "unhealthy" and "healthy" products and no methodology for systematically assessing it. This research aimed to explore this proportion with an Internet survey of sports sponsorship in the New Zealand setting.
A search methodology was developed to identify Internet-based evidence of sports sponsorship at the national level and at the regional and club level in one specific region (Wellington). The top eight sports for 5-17-year-olds were selected and products and services of sponsors were classified in terms of potential public health impact (using a conservative approach).
Sponsorship of these popular sports was common at the national, regional and club levels (640 sponsors listed on 107 websites overall). Sports sponsorship associated with sponsors' products classified as "unhealthy" (eg, food high in fat and sugar, gambling and alcohol) were over twice as common as sponsorship associated with sponsors' products classified as "healthy" (32.7% (95% CI = 29.1, 36.5) versus 15.5% (95% CI = 12.8, 18.6) respectively). "Gambling" was the most common specific type of sponsorship (18.8%) followed by alcohol (11.3%).
There were significantly more "alcohol" sponsors for rugby, compared to all the other sports collectively (rate ratio (RR) = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.60, 3.79), and for top male sports compared to female (RR = 1.83; 95% CI = 1.05, 3.18). Also there was significantly more "unhealthy food" sponsorship for touch rugby and for "junior" teams/clubs compared to other sports collectively (RR = 6.54; 95% CI = 2.07, 20.69; and RR = 14.72, 95% CI = 6.22, 34.8; respectively). A validation study gave an inter-rater reliability for number of sponsors of 95% (n = 87 sponsors), and an inter-rater reliability of classification and categorisation of 100%.
This study found that the sponsorship of popular sports for young people is dominated by "unhealthy" sponsorship (ie, predominantly gambling, alcohol and unhealthy food) relative to "healthy" sponsorship. Governments may need to consider regulations that limit unhealthy sponsorship and/or adopt alternative funding mechanisms for supporting popular sports.
New Zealand introduced a smokefree bars and restaurants policy in December 2004. We reviewed the data available at December 2005 on the main public health, societal and political impacts and responses within New Zealand to the new law.
Data were collected from publicly available survey reports, and from government departments and interviews. This included data on smoking in bars, attitudes to smokefree bars, bar patronage, socially cued smoking, and perceived rights to smokefree workplaces.
The proportion of surveyed bars with smoking occurring decreased from 95% to 3% during July 2004 – April 2005. Between 2004 and 2005, public support for smokefree bars rose from 56% to 69%. In the same period, support for the rights of bar workers to have smokefree workplaces rose from 81% to 91%. During the first ten months of the smokefree bars policy, there were only 196 complaints to officials about smoking in the over 9900 licensed premises. The proportion of smokers who reported that they smoked more than normal at bars, nightclubs, casinos and cafés halved between 2004 and 2005 (from 58% to 29%).
Seasonally adjusted sales in bars and clubs changed little (0.6% increase) between the first three quarters of 2004 and of 2005, while café and restaurant sales increased by 9.3% in the same period. Both changes continued existing trends. Compared to the same period in 2004, average employment during the first three quarters of 2005 was up 24% for 'pubs, taverns and bars', up 9% for cafés/restaurants, and down 8% for clubs (though employment in 'pubs, taverns and bars' may have been affected by unusually high patronage around a major sports-series).
The proportion of bar managers who approved of smokefree bars increased from 44% to 60% between November 2004 and May 2005. Bar managers also reported increased agreement with the rights of bar workers and patrons to smokefree environments. The main reported concerns of the national and regional Hospitality Associations, in 2005, were the perceived negative effects on rural and traditional pubs.
As in other jurisdictions, the introduction of smokefree bars in New Zealand has had positive overall health protection, economic and social effects; in contrast to the predictions of opponents.
The aim of this study was to compare the mortality burdens from two global impacts on mortality: international terrorism and the major cause of preventable death in developed countries – tobacco use. We also sought to examine the similarities and differences between these two causes of mortality so as to better inform the policy responses directed at prevention.
Data on deaths from international terrorism were obtained from a US State Department database for 1994–2003. Estimates for tobacco-attributable deaths were based on Peto et al 2003. The countries were 37 developed and East European countries.
Results and discussion
The collective annualized mortality burden from tobacco was approximately 5700 times that of international terrorism. The ratio of annual tobacco to international terrorism deaths was lowest for the United States at 1700 times, followed by Russia at 12,900 times. The tobacco death burden in all these countries was equivalent to the impact of an 11 September type terrorist attack every 14 hours.
Different perceptions of risk may contribute to the relative lack of a policy response to tobacco mortality, despite its relatively greater scale. The lack is also despite tobacco control having a stronger evidence base for the prevention measures used.
This comparison highlights the way risk perception may determine different policy responses to global forces causing mortality. Nevertheless, the large mortality differential between international terrorism and tobacco use has policy implications for informing the rational use of resources to prevent premature death.
We reviewed the implementation of New Zealand laws in relation to the activities of the tobacco industry and their allies. Material for two brief case studies was obtained from correspondence with official agencies, official information requests, internet searches (tobacco industry documents and official government sites), and interviews with 12 key informants.
The first case study identified four occasions over a period of 14 years where New Zealand Government agencies appeared to fail to enforce consumer protection law, although apparent breaches by the tobacco industry and their allies had occurred in relation to statements on the relative safety of secondhand smoke. The second case study examined responses to a legal requirement for the tobacco industry to provide information on tobacco additives. There was failure to enforce the law, and a failure of the political process for at least 13 years to clarify and strengthen the law. Relevant factors in both these cases of 'policy slippage' appear to have been financial and opportunity costs of taking legal action, political difficulties and the fragmented nature of government structures.
Considered together, these case studies suggest the need for governments to: (i) make better use of national consumer laws (with proper monitoring and enforcement) in relation to tobacco; and (ii) to strengthen international law and resources around tobacco-related consumer protection. A number of options for achieving these aims are available to governments.