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Otago Medical School staff profiles

Professor Janet Hoek

PositionProfessor and Co-Director ASPIRE 2025
DepartmentDepartment of Public Health (Wellington)
QualificationsBA(Hons - first class), MA(Distinction), Dip.Bis.Admin(Distinction), PhD


Janet’s main research interests are in the public health-marketing-policy nexus. She is co-Director of ASPIRE 2025, a University of Otago Research Theme whose members undertake research supporting the Government’s smokefree 2025 goal. Since 2017, she has held a joint appointment in the Department of Public Health and the Deparatment of Marketing at Otago.

Janet has led several projects funded by the Health Research Council. The first of these examined plain (or standardised) packaging and tobacco branding, and informed policy in New Zealand and internationally; a subsequent HRC-funded project examined novel on-pack tobacco warnings. Janet led an HRC-funded feasibility study assessing ‘smart’ e-cigarettes and she is currently leading an HRC-funded project examining information that could promote uptake of e-cigarettes among smokers while deterring uptake among non-smokers. Janet has been an AI on HRC-funded obesity studies, including a novel project – Kids’ Cam – that examines food marketing in children’s environments.

Janet has also received funding from the Royal Society Marsden Fund; she led a project that critically evaluated tobacco industry arguments framing smoking as an “informed choice” and she is currently leading a study probing identity shifts as smokers adopt vaping and potentially become both smoke- and vape-free.