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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

Pānui pāpāho

Protecting young people from smoking uptake as the tobacco industry targets a new generation

Friday, 29 May 2020 11:28am

The tobacco industry is targeting a new generation of smokers with sophisticated marketing designed to associate smoking with rebellion, social prestige and attractiveness, researchers from the tobacco control research centre ASPIRE 2025, at the University of Otago, say.

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New insights into vaping uptake among Māori and Pacific peoples

Monday, 25 May 2020 11:08am

Māori and Pasifika who have not been able to quit smoking may need more support to move from smoking to vaping, researchers from the University of Otago and Māori public health collective Hāpai Te Hauora have found.

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Otago researchers making major contribution to Covid-19 response

Friday, 17 April 2020 12:35pm

A University of Otago molecular biologist has received new Government funding of $235,746 for Covid-19 related research to develop an effective point-of-care test for the infectious disease.

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Smokers turned off by plain packs, survey shows

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 12:47pm

Plain packaging is making tobacco products less appealing and warning labels more noticeable, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

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Tougher rules needed to prevent lead poisoning of shooters: researcher

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 8:37am

The Government must impose tougher regulations on indoor firing ranges to keep shooters and their families safe from lead poisoning, says a public health researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus

Friday, 20 March 2020 11:39am

With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Evidence clearly favours taxing sugary drinks – new study

Friday, 13 March 2020 3:42pm

New Zealand should follow the UK and more than 30 other countries in introducing a tax on sugary drinks to tackle obesity and reduce deaths from chronic diseases, leading researchers say.

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New Zealand must learn lessons from China’s success in managing Covid-19

Monday, 9 March 2020 10:42am

While the world has been focused on Covid-19’s spread to new countries many might not have noticed that the outbreak in China is slowly being brought under control.

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COVID-19 has now reached New Zealand. How prepared is it to deal with a pandemic?

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 12:29pm

New Zealand joined 48 other countries affected by the novel coronavirus last week when health authorities confirmed the first COVID-19 case.

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Damp and mouldy housing new measure in latest deprivation index

Thursday, 30 January 2020 2:11pm

Damp and mouldy housing has been included as an indicator of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand by University of Otago researchers developing the latest version of the New Zealand Index of Socioeconomic Deprivation (NZDep2018).

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What does the coronavirus epidemic mean for New Zealand?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 2:26pm

Unlike armed conflict, here we are fighting an external threat to global health where collaboration and sharing of information benefits all nations.

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Cycling to work? You may live longer

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 11:52am

People who cycle to work have a lower risk of dying, a New Zealand study has found.

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Untimely access to diagnosis not main reason why Māori are dying of cancer: Otago research

Monday, 20 January 2020 11:50am

Māori have poorer access to early diagnosis for some key cancers including breast and colorectal cancers though, this is not the case for all cancers and is not necessarily why more Māori are dying of cancer, new University of Otago research shows.

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Sharp drop in birth rate as a result of miscarriages in 1918 flu pandemic, study finds

Monday, 16 December 2019 11:05am

The 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand resulted in thousands of fewer births, particularly in the 1919 year, largely because of miscarriages from influenza infection during pregnancy, researchers have found.

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

Friday, 29 November 2019 11:06am

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.