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Aspire 2025

ASPIRE2025 is one of the University of Otago’s Research Themes and is formally recognised as an area of research excellence. Professor Janet Hoek from the Department of Marketing and Professor Richard Edwards from the Department of Public Health co-direct ASPIRE2025, which brings together researchers from Commerce, Health Sciences, Humanities and Sciences. Our work supports the government’s goal of leading Aotearoa / New Zealand to become an essentially smokefree nation by 2025. This goal led world thinking and directly challenged the wide scale human tragedy caused by smoking.

Department of Marketing researchers have contributed to ASPIRE in many ways. Our work has examined every component of the marketing mix and analysed how changing these could help reduce smoking prevalence. For example, our work on plain packaging has examined new message themes, the effects variant or descriptor names have on smokers’ choice patterns, and how cessation information could be made more salient. We have also explored entirely new interventions, such as creating dissuasive sticks that feature unappealing colours or warning messages.

Marketing researchers have been particularly interested in young adults’ behaviours, as smoking prevalence peaks among 18-25 year olds. We have explored rituals in roll-your-own tobacco and e-cigarette use, novel social marketing communications, and responses to potential “endgame” policies. We have worked extensively on how tobacco supply might be reduced. For example, our work on retailing has examined information needs to support the introduction of plain packaging, and we have mapped the density of tobacco retail outlets, explored responses to different retail interventions, and probed retailers’ views on alternative policies.

Smoking kills 13 New Zealanders every day – that’s 5000 people a year, more than ten times as many as the road toll. We aim to undertake research that helps realise an Aotearoa / New Zealand where children grow up free from the scourge of tobacco and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

We always welcome new collaborators and post-graduate students, so please feel free to contact us if you are interested in working with us (email: You can see more about our work here: