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Professor Richard Edwards,
Department of Public Health

Professor Richard Edwards image 2020


Co-Director ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre; Co-Director Whakahā o te Pā Harakeke Research Programme;

Teaches PUBH732 Prevention and Control of Disease in Populations

Contact details  

Tel +64 4 918 5089
Twitter @ProfEdwardsNZ

Research interests and activities 

Richard trained as a public health physician in the UK, and came to Wellington in November 2005. He has over 20 years experience in tobacco control practice and research in the UK and New Zealand. Richard is co-director of ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre and co-director of the Whakahā o te Pā Harakeke research programme.

His main research interests are in tobacco use epidemiology and tobacco control (see ASPIRE2025). He has also carried out research in a variety of other areas, notably environmental epidemiology and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. He is a member of the leadership group of the Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI).

His current research focus is on smokefree policy research, particularly in relation to achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa goal of ending significant tobacco use in Aotearoa/New Zealand for all peoples by 2025.

He is co-principal investigator of the Evidence for Achieving Smokefree Aotearoa Equitably (EASE) study (New Zealand arm of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Evaluation project).

Examples of recently completed research projects include:

  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the removal of point-of-sale displays in New Zealand and internationally
  • An investigation of the feasibility of endgame solutions to tobacco control in New Zealand
  • An exploration of whether young adults make a truly informed choice when they start smoking
  • An investigation of the reasons for the recent decline in smoking among New Zealand adolescents
  • Developing an action plan for the achievement of the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal

Richard is a Deputy Editor of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research and serves on various expert advisory committees including for Hāpai Te Hauora the national tobacco control advocacy service and the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation.

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Signal, L. N., Edwards, R., Gage, R., Jackson, N., McKerchar, C., & Sarfati, D. (2020). The state of cancer prevention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Slow progress requires political leadership and investment for health and equity. Journal of Cancer Policy, 23, 100212. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpo.2019.100212

Ball, J., Edwards, R., Sim, D., Cook, H., & Denny, S. (2020). What explains the decline in adolescent binge-drinking in New Zealand? International Journal of Drug Policy, 84, 102826. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102826

Wilson, N., Thomson, G., & Edwards, R. (2020). Smoke-free cars legislation: It works but New Zealand should still rigorously evaluate its upcoming law. New Zealand Medical Journal, 133(1520), 106-110. Retrieved from

Edwards, R. (2020). Has the time come to focus on (young adult) smoking uptake prevention? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 22(7), 1061-1062. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa078

Edwards, R. (2020). Hardening is dead, long live softening: Time to focus on reducing disparities in smoking. Tobacco Control, 29(3), 250-251. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055067

Edited Book - Research

Britton, J., Edwards, R., & ... (Eds.). (2005). Going smoke-free: The medical case for clean air in the home, at work and in public places. London, UK: Royal College of Physicians.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Edwards, R. (2005). Control of environmental tobacco smoke exposure in the workplace. In Going smoke-free: The medical case for clean air in the home, at work and in public places. (pp. 51-62). London, UK: Royal College of Physicians.

Walker, R., & Edwards, R. (2004). Hypertension in Africa. In E. Parry, R. Godfrey, D. Mabey & G. Gill (Eds.), Principles of medicine in Africa. (3rd ed.) (pp. 779-795). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Signal, L. N., Edwards, R., Gage, R., Jackson, N., McKerchar, C., & Sarfati, D. (2020). The state of cancer prevention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Slow progress requires political leadership and investment for health and equity. Journal of Cancer Policy, 23, 100212. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpo.2019.100212

Ball, J., Edwards, R., Sim, D., Cook, H., & Denny, S. (2020). What explains the decline in adolescent binge-drinking in New Zealand? International Journal of Drug Policy, 84, 102826. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102826

Gravely, S., Driezen, P., Ouimet, J., Quah, A. C. K., Cummings, K. M., Thompson, M., … Edwards, R., … Fong, G. T. (2019). Prevalence of awareness, ever-use, and current use of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) among adult current smokers and ex-smokers in 14 countries with differing regulations on sales and marketing of NVPs: Cross-sectional findings from the ITC Project. Addiction, 114(6), 1060-1073. doi: 10.1111/add.14558

Oakly, A., Edwards, R., & Martin, G. (2019). Prevalence of e-cigarette use from a nationally representative sample in New Zealand. Addictive Behaviors, 98, 106024. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.06.013

Ball, J., Sim, D., & Edwards, R. (2019). Addressing ethnic disparities in adolescent smoking: Is reducing exposure to smoking in the home a key? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 21(4), 430-438. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty053

Ball, J., Sim, D., Edwards, R., Fleming, T., Denny, S., Cook, H., & Clark, T. (2019). Declining adolescent cannabis use occurred across all demographic groups and was accompanied by declining use of other psychoactive drugs, New Zealand, 2001-2012. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1500), 12-24. Retrieved from

McKiernan, A., Stanley, J., Waa, A. M., Kaai, S. C., Quah, A. C. K., Fong, G. T., & Edwards, R. (2019). Beliefs among adult smokers and quitters about nicotine and de-nicotinized cigarettes in the 2016-17 ITC New Zealand Survey. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 5(5), 400-409. doi: 10.18001/TRS.5.5.1

Carter, M.-A., Signal, L. N., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2019). Competing teammates: Food in New Zealand sports settings. Health Promotion International, 34(4), 803-810. doi: 10.1093/heapro/day035

Signal, L. N., Bowers, S. G., Edwards, R., Gifford, H., Hudson, S., Jenkin, G. L. S., Lanumata, T. S., Russell, M. L., Thomson, G., & Walton, M. D. (2018). Process, pitfalls and profits: Lessons from interviewing New Zealand policy-makers. Health Promotion International, 33(2), 187-194. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daw065

Edwards, R., Tu, D., Stanley, J., Martin, G., Gifford, H., & Newcombe, R. (2018). Smoking prevalence among doctors and nurses: 2013 New Zealand census data. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1471), 48-57. Retrieved from

Wilson, N., Petrović-van der Deen, F. S., Edwards, R., Waa, A., & Blakely, T. (2018). Modelling the number of quitters needed to achieve New Zealand's Smokefree 2025 goal for Māori and non-Māori. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1487), 30-37. Retrieved from

Shaw, C., Hales, S., Edwards, R., Howden-Chapman, P., & Stanley, J. (2018). What can fuel price increases tell us about the air pollution health co-benefits of a carbon price? Journal of Transport & Health, 8, 81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2017.11.002

Ball, J., Sim, D., & Edwards, R. (2018). Why has adolescent smoking declined dramatically? Trend analysis using repeat cross-sectional data from New Zealand 2002-2015. BMJ Open, 8(10), e020320. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020320

Smith, M., Signal, L., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2017). Children's and parents' opinions on the sport-related food environment: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 18(9), 1018-1039. doi: 10.1111/obr.12558

Edwards, R., Ajmal, A., Healey, B., & Hoek, J. (2017). Impact of removing point-of-sale tobacco displays: Data from a New Zealand youth survey. Tobacco Control, 26, 392-398. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052764

Edwards, R., Tu, D., Newcombe, R., Holland, K., & Walton, D. (2017). Achieving the tobacco endgame: Evidence on the hardening hypothesis from repeated cross-sectional studies in New Zealand 2008-2014. Tobacco Control, 26, 399-405. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052860

Waa, A. M., Hoek, J., Edwards, R., & Maclaurin, J. (2017). Analysis of the logic and framing of a tobacco industry campaign opposing standardised packaging legislation in New Zealand. Tobacco Control, 26(6), 629-633. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053146

Gendall, P., Hoek, J., Edwards, R., & Glantz, S. (2016). Effect of exposure to smoking in movies on young adult smoking in New Zealand. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0148692. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148692

Gifford, H., Tautolo, E.-S., Erick, S., Hoek, J., Gray, R., & Edwards, R. (2016). A qualitative analysis of Māori and Pacific smokers' views on informed choice and smoking. BMJ Open, 6(5), e011415. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011415

Tu, D., Newcombe, R., Edwards, R., & Walton, D. (2016). Socio-demographic characteristics of New Zealand adult smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers: Results from the 2013 Census. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1447), 43-56. Retrieved from

Gray, R. J., Hoek, J., & Edwards, R. (2016). A qualitative analysis of 'informed choice' among young adult smokers. Tobacco Control, 25, 46-51. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2014-051793

Ball, J., Stanley, J., Wilson, N., Blakely, T., & Edwards, R. (2016). Smoking prevalence in New Zealand from 1996–2015: A critical review of national data sources to inform progress toward the Smokefree 2025 goal. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1439), 11-22. Retrieved from

Healey, B., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2016). Youth preferences for roll-your-own versus factory-made cigarettes: Trends and associations in repeated national surveys (2006-13) and implications for policy. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18(5), 959-965. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntv135

Gendall, P., Eckert, C., Hoek, J., Farley, T., Louviere, J., Wilson, N., & Edwards, R. (2016). Estimating the 'consumer surplus' for branded versus standardised tobacco packaging. Tobacco Control, 25(6), 641-647. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052488

Thomson, G., Wilson, N., Collins, D., & Edwards, R. (2015). Attitudes to smoke-free outdoor regulations in the USA and Canada: A review of 89 surveys. Tobacco Control, 25(5), 506-516. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052426

Jaine, R., Healey, B., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2015). How adolescents view the tobacco endgame and tobacco control measures: Trends and associations in support among 14-15 year olds. Tobacco Control, 24(5), 449-454. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051440

Healey, B., Hoek, J., Wilson, N., Thomson, G., Taylor, S., & Edwards, R. (2015). Youth exposure to in-vehicle second-hand smoke and their smoking behaviours: Trends and associations in repeated national surveys (2006-2012). Tobacco Control, 24(2), 146-152. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051124

Tautolo, E.-S., Edwards, R., & Gifford, H. (2015). A gift and a burden: The purchase and distribution of duty-free tobacco and its potential impact upon Pacific people in New Zealand. Tobacco Control, 24(E1), e59-e64. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051345

Shaw, C., Hales, S., Howden-Chapman, P., & Edwards, R. (2014). Health co-benefits of climate change mitigation policies in the transport sector. Nature Climate Change, 4(6), 427-433. doi: 10.1038/nclimate2247

Healey, B., Hoek, J., & Edwards, R. (2014). Posting behaviour patterns in an online smoking cessation social network: Implications for intervention design and development. PLoS ONE, 9(9), e106603. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106603

Jaine, R., Russell, M., Edwards, R., & Thomson, G. (2014). New Zealand tobacco retailers’ attitudes to selling tobacco, point-of-sale display bans and other tobacco control measures: A qualitative analysis. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1396). Retrieved from

Gendall, P., Hoek, J., Marsh, L., Edwards, R., & Healey, B. (2014). Youth tobacco access: Trends and policy implications. BMJ Open, 4(4), e004631. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004631

McCool, J., Hoek, J., Edwards, R., Thomson, G., & Gifford, H. (2013). Crossing the smoking divide for young adults: Expressions of stigma and identity among smokers and nonsmokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 15(2), 552-556. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts136

Thornley, S., Dirks, K. N., Edwards, R., Woodward, A., & Marshall, R. (2013). Indoor air pollution levels were halved as a result of a national tobacco an in a New Zealand prison. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 15(2), 343-347. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts127

Blakely, T., Barendregt, J. J., Foster, R. H., Hill, S., Atkinson, J., Sarfati, D., & Edwards, R. (2013). The association of active smoking with multiple cancers: National census-cancer registry cohorts with quantitative bias analysis. Cancer Causes & Control, 24(6), 1243-1255. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0204-2

Maubach, N., Hoek, J. A., Edwards, R., Gifford, H., Erick, S., & Newcombe, R. (2013). 'The times are changing': New Zealand smokers' perceptions of the tobacco endgame. Tobacco Control, 22(6), 395-400. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050398

Edwards, R., Wilson, N., Peace, J., Weerasekera, D., Thomson, G. W., & Gifford, H. (2013). Support for a tobacco endgame and increased regulation of the tobacco industry among New Zealand smokers: Results from a National Survey. Tobacco Control, 22, e86-e93. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050324

Wilson, N., Thomson, G. W., Edwards, R., & Blakely, T. (2013). Potential advantages and disadvantages of an endgame strategy: A 'sinking lid' on tobacco supply. Tobacco Control, 22(Suppl. 1), i18-i21. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050791

Carter, M.-A., Signal, L., Edwards, R., Hoek, J., & Maher, A. (2013). Food, fizzy, and football: Promoting unhealthy food and beverages through sport: A New Zealand case study. BMC Public Health, 13, 126. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-126

Hoek, J., Maubach, N., Stevenson, R., Gendall, P., & Edwards, R. (2013). Social smokers' management of conflicted identities. Tobacco Control, 22(4), 261-265. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050176

Edwards, R., Carter, K., Peace, J., & Blakely, T. (2013). An examination of smoking initiation rates by age: Results from a large longitudinal study in New Zealand. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37(6), 516-519. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12105

Edwards, R., Peace, J., Russell, M., Gifford, H., Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2012). Qualitative exploration of public and smoker understanding of, and reactions to, an endgame solution to the tobacco epidemic. BMC Public Health, 12, 782. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-782

Gendall, P., Hoek, J., Edwards, R., & McCool, J. (2012). A cross-sectional analysis of how young adults perceive tobacco brands: Implications for FCTC signatories. BMC Public Health, 12, 796. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-796

Hoek, J., Gendall, P., Maubach, N., & Edwards, R. (2012). Strong public support for plain packaging of tobacco products. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(5), 405-407. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00907.x

Verma, A., Harrison, A., Torun, P., Vestbo, J., Edwards, R., & Thornton, J. (2012). Are pharmacists reducing COPD'S impact through smoking cessation and assessing inhaled steroid use? Respiratory Medicine, 106(2), 230-234. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.08.011

Rasiah, D., Edwards, R., & Crampton, P. (2012). Funding community medicines by exception: A descriptive epidemiological study from New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 125(1350). Retrieved from

Verma, A., Torun, P., Harris, E., Edwards, R., Gemmell, I., Harrison, R. A., … Heller, R. F. (2012). Population Impact Analysis: A framework for assessing the population impact of a risk or intervention. Journal of Public Health, 34(1), 83-89. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr026

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