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International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project 2016-2018 - New Zealand

ITC logo finalIntroduction to the NZ-ITC Study

In October 2015, ASPIRE2025 researchers were awarded funding by the Health Research Council to initiate a new cohort of the New Zealand arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the NZ-ITC Project). The NZ-ITC Project represents a major enhancement to NZ tobacco control research and will help provide evidence to inform policy and strategy development for Smokefree 2025 (SF 2025). The project will add to evidence developed in a previous HRC-funded study led by Professor Nick Wilson from 2006-2010 and is part of a highly successful and influential international collaborative study led by the University of Waterloo in Canada.

What is the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project)?

ITC Map with countires and flags v2

The ITC Project is a transdisciplinary collaboration of over 150 researchers across 28 countries. The dual mission of the ITC Project is to predict and understand the factors that are responsible for tobacco use in each of the 28 countries, and to conduct rigorous evaluation of the psychosocial and behavioural effects of national level tobacco control policies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first-ever international treaty on health, as they are implemented in the 28 countries.

In all, the ITC Project has conducted prospective cohort surveys of tobacco use to evaluate FCTC policies in countries inhabited by >50% of the world’s population, >60% of the world’s smokers, and >70% of the world’s tobacco users and is playing a leading role in establishing the evidence base for the FCTC and for other tobacco control policies and regulations. The ITC Project is the only research project in the world that focuses explicitly on measuring and understanding the population-level impact of the FCTC and tobacco control policies and regulations more generally.

What are the objectives of the NZ-ITC Study?

The aim of the NZ-ITC Study is to establish a cohort of New Zealand smokers and ex-smokers and interview them over several years in order to:

  •  describe trends in smoking-related behaviours, attitudes, experiences and perceptions;
  •   identify determinants of smokers’ and ex-smokers’ smoking-related behaviours;
  •   assess the impact of tobacco control measures on smoking-related attitudes and behaviours;
  •   explore patterns of use and impacts of alternative nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes;
  •   explore the feasibility and acceptability of novel policy and practice interventions that might be considered for future implementation.

Who will participate?

The NZ ITC Study will recruit a cohort of approximately 1100-1200 adult (≥15 years old) current smokers and ex-smokers. Around 600 of the sample will be Māori and 160 Pacific. The cohort will be recruited from participants in the 2015 NZ Health Survey (a cross-sectional survey administered by the Ministry of Health). The NZ cohort will be unique as the NZ Health Survey will provide detailed health data about participants that is not available in other ITC cohorts.

What data will be collected?

We will collect a wide range of information on smoking and potential determinants of smoking-related behaviours like quitting and relapsing, and indicators of the impact of tobacco control interventions such as increases in tobacco excise tax. We will include NZ-specific questions to explore relevant facets of smoking among Māori (e.g. greater use of roll-your-own tobacco) and Pacific (e.g. sharing and gifting of tobacco) and we will also assess awareness and impact of NZ-specific interventions and policies.

When will the study take place?

There will be two waves of data collection, the first was completed in April 2017 and the second is planned for the first half of 2018.

Who is in the research team?

This research is led by the University of Otago, in collaboration with Māori and Pacific researchers from other institutions, and the Ministry of Health. Research New Zealand (a market research company) has been contracted by the University of Otago to conduct the survey interviews and also the ITC Project based at the Universit of Waterloo, Canada. The researchers involved in this project are:

What will be the impact of this research?

The NZ-ITC Project will advance knowledge about smoking and tobacco control interventions that will help to achieve the SF 2025 goal, and hence reduce the impact that smoking has as a major determinant of poor health and mortality, as well as reducing the impact of smoking as a driver of health inequalities in NZ. Outputs from the NZ-ITC Project will be widely disseminated to the tobacco control and policy sectors, and will include findings about patterns and determinants of smoking-related behaviours, impact of national tobacco control policies and interventions, feasibility of new innovative interventions, and attitudes towards SF 2025 and key tobacco control policies.

What outputs are now available?

To view presentations, reports and other outputs resulting from this study, please view Outputs from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project 2016-2018 - New Zealand

Who do I contact for more information?

If you are a participant in this project, please go to (Research New Zealand page) for more information.
For more information about the NZ-ITC Project please contact or any of the project team.
For more information about the ITC Project please visit