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Urgent Need For Research Say Tobacco Control Orgs

Urgent Need For Research Say Tobacco Control Organisations

Representatives of New Zealand’s tobacco control organisations have developed what they see as a blueprint for essential research into tobacco control initiatives in New Zealand.

They say a tied tax on tobacco products would be the most effective way to fund it. Funding of $10 million on an annual basis would be required to implement an effective research programme.

Released today at a tobacco control research symposium hosted by the Associate Minister for Health, the Hon Damien O’Connor, the strategy discussion document says tobacco control research is an essential component of an effective tobacco control programme. But tobacco-related research in New Zealand is significantly underfunded.

The chairperson of the Tobacco Control Research Strategy Steering Group which developed the strategy, Dr Marewa Glover, says New Zealand is a leader in the field of tobacco control cessation programmes and programmes for indigenous people.

“However, while there has been success, we need to know why. Research is needed to show what has worked and why.

“In New Zealand we have relied heavily on overseas research to guide us in putting tobacco control measures in place such as legislative measures, media campaigns, a national telephone Quitline, and face-to-face smoking cessation programmes. But when we look back, we need to know how successful we have been,” Dr Glover says.

“We need to know, for example, what is motivating young people to smoke.”

The theme of today’s symposium reflected the question most asked of tobacco control researchers: “How do you know it works?”

“We have the experts – we should use them, listen to them.” Dr Glover says.

Tobacco use is the major preventable cause of death in New Zealand, killing approximately 4500 smokers and 380 non-smokers each year.

“We know tobacco control research is an area of unmet – and urgent need. This strategy asks the government to urgently address the funding gap that exists between what is currently applied tobacco control research, and what is required to effectively undertake tobacco control research in New Zealand. That will result in the betterment of tobacco control and, ultimately, the health of New Zealanders,” Dr Glover says.

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