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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

Pānui pāpāho

Uncontrolled online marketing of e-cigarettes putting youth at risk, study finds

Friday, 29 November 2019 9:08am

Only 10 per cent of New Zealand websites selling vaping products require proof of age before purchase, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

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Dairy owners’ lack of knowledge about e-cigarettes may undermine smoking cessation

Thursday, 7 November 2019 9:14am

Convenience store owners who lack knowledge of the e-cigarettes they sell may undermine, rather than support, smoking cessation.

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Otago researchers recipients of inaugural $3m Marsden Fund Award

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 9:42am

University of Otago researchers are the recipients of an inaugural Marsden Fund Council Award worth $3 million to investigate genetic predisposition to metabolic diseases like diabetes and gout among Pacific people.

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Significant association between use of long-acting contraceptives and unprecedented decline in abortion rate, study finds

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 12:24pm

A shift towards the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives, particularly by young women, is associated with declining abortion rates in New Zealand, new research has found.

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New Zealand could be lifeboat to save humanity from extinction in a catastrophic pandemic, researchers say

Tuesday, 1 October 2019 10:32am

New Zealand, Australia and Iceland could act as island refuges to save humanity from extinction in the event of a catastrophic global pandemic, researchers have found.

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Seven inaugural Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair appointments to mark 150th

Monday, 30 September 2019 3:22pm

In a new initiative, the University is celebrating its internationally acclaimed scholars by creating a prestigious new role - the Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair (Poutoko Taiea).

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Through the haze: smoke-free laws failing to protect bar staff, patrons 

Monday, 23 September 2019 3:10pm

Patrons and workers continue to be exposed to hazardous tobacco smoke in bars, restaurants and cafés, despite legislation designed to protect them, researchers have found.

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Remove nicotine from cigarettes, smokers say

Monday, 16 September 2019 10:35am

New Zealand smokers overwhelmingly support removing the nicotine from cigarettes to make them less addictive, a national survey has found.

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Smokers concealing cigarette packs’ graphic warnings, study finds

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 10:48am

Smokers are less likely to display packs of cigarettes and tobacco on tables at cafés and bars now that standardised packs with larger graphic health warnings have been introduced, according to a new study.

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Otago academic to head new national cancer strategy

Monday, 2 September 2019 12:33pm

The new interim National Director of Cancer Control, University of Otago academic Professor Diana Sarfati, believes lives will be saved as a result of the new National Cancer Action Plan.

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New research collaboration to fight cancer in New Zealand

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 8:57am

University of Otago cancer researchers are coming together in a new collaboration awarded a $2 million grant by the Cancer Society in a bid to better tackle a leading cause of death in New Zealand.

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Teenagers say ‘nope’ to dope

Friday, 16 August 2019 11:18am

New research from the University of Otago, Wellington, has shed light on the declining use of cannabis use by teens.

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Moving house related to behavioural difficulties in four-year-olds, study finds

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 12:02pm

Moving house is linked with increases in emotional and behavioural difficulties in four-year-olds, with the problems compounding each time a family moves, researchers have found.

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Massive potential health gains in switching to active transport – Otago study

Thursday, 18 July 2019 12:24pm

Swapping short car trips for walking or biking could achieve as much health gain as ongoing tobacco tax increases, according to a study from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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New data on e-cigarette use among New Zealand adults

Monday, 15 July 2019 12:59pm

Around one in six New Zealand adults have tried e-cigarettes but only 2 per cent are using them currently, a national survey has found.

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Eliminating waiting lists for cataract surgery prevents falls and is cost effective

Thursday, 4 July 2019 11:21am

Eliminating waiting times for cataract surgery would be a cost-effective health system intervention, largely driven by the falls prevention benefits related to improved vision, a just-published New Zealand study has found.

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Sugary drink taxes reduce consumption, major review shows

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 2:32pm

A 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks has cut the purchase and consumption of sugary drinks by an average of 10 per cent in places it has been introduced, a just published major review shows.

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Butting Out: Researchers gauge public opinion on tobacco product waste

Friday, 14 June 2019 11:25am

Requiring cigarettes to contain biodegradable filters, fining smokers who litter cigarette butts and expanding smoke free outdoor areas are measures the public considers are most likely to reduce tobacco product waste, new University of Otago research reveals.

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More awareness needed about lead exposure from firearms, researchers say

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 3:10pm

Researchers are warning that lead-based ammunition is posing a risk to firearms’ users and their families, with a culture of denial about the issue among the firearms community.

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Otago’s emerging researchers secure more than $1.7 million in HRC funding

Thursday, 16 May 2019 12:56pm

An occupational therapist who aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities is one of several University of Otago early-stage researchers who have together been awarded more than $1.7 million in Health Research Council funding.

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Otago alumna behind UK Government’s move to help cerebral palsy children walk

Wednesday, 1 May 2019 8:32am

An Otago alumna has led a study into spinal surgery for children with cerebral palsy in the UK, which has proven it helps them walk and reduces pain, triggering the UK Government to fund the procedure.

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Wood is good, research on 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake shows

Tuesday, 16 April 2019 9:52am

New research has found that only three per cent of deaths in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake occurred in people’s homes, almost all of which were at that time constructed from wood.

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Public health experts call for use of “tie-down” practice to be abolished in NZ prisons

Friday, 12 April 2019 11:31am

A University of Otago public health physician and researcher and her Australian colleague welcome news that the use of “tie-down” practice will be abolished in New Zealand prisons.

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Housing WOFs need to be combined with education, study shows

Tuesday, 9 April 2019 11:01am

Alongside funding and regulatory support, understanding how housing affects health and safety can spur owners to make improvements to their properties, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and WISE Better Homes have found.

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Otago researchers encourage New Zealanders to support Arms Amendment Bill

Wednesday, 3 April 2019 4:28pm

University of Otago firearms researchers are encouraging New Zealanders who are not gun owners to support MPs and political parties with the Arms Amendment Bill.

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Kiwi kids call for ban on junk food marketing

Friday, 29 March 2019 4:06pm

If Kiwi kids had the Prime Minister’s job for a day, many would ban junk food marketing, according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Otago researchers call for urgent law change

Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:25pm

Firearms law changes promised by the Prime Minister are long overdue, according to experts in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Marie Russell and Dr Hera Cook.

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Liberal access to e-cigarettes likely to bring health benefits, NZ study finds

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:16am

New Zealand’s approach of allowing wide access to e-cigarettes is likely to be bringing overall health gains and cost savings for the health system, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

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‘Invisible wounds’ may have cut WWII veterans’ lives short

Friday, 8 March 2019 9:08am

Kiwi men who were veterans of World War II appear to have had a shorter lifespan than other New Zealand men who were born at the same time, new research shows.

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New WHO housing and health guidelines could save millions each year

Monday, 25 February 2019 3:00pm

Preventable injuries and hospitalisations due solely to poor housing conditions in New Zealand could be costing more than $145 million annually in ACC claims and hospitalisation costs, according to new research.

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Train station signs send weak smokefree signal

Friday, 22 February 2019 9:58am

More than 20 per cent of the 54 railway stations in the lower North Island have no smokefree signs at all and many others have signs of poor quality, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

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Surprise te reo Māori finding in pre-diabetes research

Monday, 18 February 2019 2:27pm

New research from the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge has found people who speak te reo Māori have a reduced risk of progressing from pre-diabetes to diabetes.

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New Zealand leads global effort to control rheumatic fever

Monday, 11 February 2019 4:20pm

A three-year project aimed at pinpointing the most effective ways to prevent and control rheumatic fever and associated heart disease in New Zealand is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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One plus one equals more than two for health expenditure in patients with multiple conditions, study finds

Wednesday, 9 January 2019 1:27pm

Caring for patients with two or more chronic diseases costs the health system more than it would to treat each disease in isolation, a new study has shown.