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George Thomson, Department of Public Health

BA (History and Politics), Masters (Public Policy), PhD

Profile_George_Thomson

Research Associate Professor; HePPRU

Contact details 

Tel +64 4 385 5999 ext 6054
Fax +64 4 389 5319
Email george.thomson@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities 

George's research interests are in tobacco control, health policy and health politics. His work includes researching government and business behaviour as determinants of population health, with recent research covering:

  • The effects and ethics of tobacco taxation.
  • Smoking and smokefree areas outdoors and in vehicles.
  • Tobacco endgames.

His research has been funded by the Health Research Council, the Cancer Society, the Heart Foundation, and ASH NZ, and he has been a co-investigator on two Marsden Foundation funded projects.

Much of his recent research has focused on areas relevant to smokefree outdoor area policies and smokefree vehicle. This includes the observation of smoking behaviour, establishing outdoor and vehicle smoking prevalence, and the surrounding climates of opinion. Current research includes mapping the visibility of outdoor smoking, and reviewing online comments about smokefree outdoor policies.

George is the policy and regulatory research theme leader for the ASPIRE 2025 research partnership for a tobacco free Aotearoa.

Please see:

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Publications

Gage, R., Wilson, N., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2019). Shade in playgrounds: Findings from a nationwide survey and implications for urban health policy. Journal of Public Health, 27(5), 669-674. doi: 10.1007/s10389-018-0990-9

Clement, C., Abeling, S., Deely, J., Teng, A., Thomson, G., Johnston, D., & Wilson, N. (2019). Descriptive epidemiology of New Zealand's highest mortality earthquake: Hawke's Bay in 1931. Scientific Reports, 9, 4914. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41432-6

Nee-Nee, J., Sutherland, K., Holland, R., Wilson, M., Ackland, S., Bocock, C., Cartmell, A., Earp, J., Grove, C., Hewson, C., Jeffries, W., Keefe, L., Lockyer, J., Patel, S., Quintans, M., Robbie, M., Teape, L., Yang, J., Wilson, N., Hoek, J., & Thomson, G. (2019). Tobacco pack display at hospitality venues after the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging in New Zealand: A field observation study. BMJ Open, 9, e027868. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027868

Wilson, N., Delany, L., & Thomson, G. W. (2019). Smokefree laws and hospitality settings: An example from New Zealand of a deficient approach [Research letter]. Tobacco Control. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055215

Wilson, N., & Thomson, G. (2019). Smokefree signage at railway stations: A survey of 54 stations in 11 local government areas. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1490), 59-61. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Chapter in Book - Research

Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2017). Global tobacco industry. In S. R. Quah & W. Cockerham (Eds.), The International encyclopedia of public health (Vol. 3). (2nd ed.) (pp. 292-300). Oxford, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-803678-5.00463-X

Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2015). The global tobacco industry. In M. J. Caplan (Ed.), Reference module in biomedical sciences. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.03201-3

Gifford, H., & Thomson, G. (2012). Smoke free environments for children: The relationship between schools and wider smoke free environments. In J. A. O'Dea (Ed.), Current Issues and controversies in school and community health, sport and physical education. (pp. 157-166). Nova.

Thomson, G., Wilson, N., & Crane, J. (2008). Rethinking the regulatory framework for tobacco control in New Zealand. In A. Ghose (Ed.), Impact of government policies on marketing strategies. (pp. 179-188). Hyderabad, India: Icfai University Press.

Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2008). The tobacco industry. In K. Heggenhougen & S. Quah (Eds.), International encyclopedia of public health (Vol. 6). (pp. 331-337). San Diego, USA: Academic Press.

Thomson, G. W., & Wilson, N. (2001). Tobacco control policy. In P. Davis & T. Ashton (Eds.), Health and public policy in New Zealand. (pp. 237-254). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Gage, R., Wilson, N., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2019). Shade in playgrounds: Findings from a nationwide survey and implications for urban health policy. Journal of Public Health, 27(5), 669-674. doi: 10.1007/s10389-018-0990-9

Nee-Nee, J., Sutherland, K., Holland, R., Wilson, M., Ackland, S., Bocock, C., Cartmell, A., Earp, J., Grove, C., Hewson, C., Jeffries, W., Keefe, L., Lockyer, J., Patel, S., Quintans, M., Robbie, M., Teape, L., Yang, J., Wilson, N., Hoek, J., & Thomson, G. (2019). Tobacco pack display at hospitality venues after the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging in New Zealand: A field observation study. BMJ Open, 9, e027868. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027868

Clement, C., Abeling, S., Deely, J., Teng, A., Thomson, G., Johnston, D., & Wilson, N. (2019). Descriptive epidemiology of New Zealand's highest mortality earthquake: Hawke's Bay in 1931. Scientific Reports, 9, 4914. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41432-6

Crosbie, E., Thomson, G., Freeman, B., & Bialous, S. (2018). Advancing progressive health policy to reduce NCDs amidst international commercial opposition: Tobacco standardised packaging in Australia. Global Public Health, 13(12), 1753-1766. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2018.1443485

Gage, R., Wilson, N., Signal, L., Barr, M., Reeder, A., & Thomson, G. (2018). Using Google Earth to assess shade for sun protection in urban recreation spaces: Methods and results. Journal of Health Communication. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10900-018-0522-0

Tinawi, G., Gray, T., Knight, T., Glass, C., Domanski, N., Wilson, N., Hoek, J., & Thomson, G. (2018). Highly deficient alcohol health warning labels in a high-income country with a voluntary system. Drug & Alcohol Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/dar.12814

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

Wilson, N., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2018). Surveying all public drinking water fountains in a city: Outdoor field observations and Google Street View. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(1), 83-85. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12730

Crosbie, E., & Thomson, G. (2018). Regulatory chills: Tobacco industry legal threats and the politics of tobacco standardised packaging in New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1473), 25-41. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Wilson, N., Thomson, G., Summers, J. A., Harper, G., Horrocks, J., & Roberts, E. (2018). The health impacts of the First World War on New Zealand: A summary and a remaining research agenda. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12837

Lowrie, C., Pearson, A. L., & Thomson, G. (2017). Inequities in coverage of smokefree space policies within the United States. BMC Public Health, 17, 456. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4385-6

Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2017). Smokefree signage at New Zealand racecourses and sports facilities with outdoor stands. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1464), 80-86. Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Wilson, N., Ferguson, C., Rice, G., Baker, M. G., Schrader, B., Clement, C., & Thomson, G. (2017). Remembering the 1918 influenza pandemic: National suvey of memorials and scope for enhancing educational value around pandemic preparedness. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1465), 53-70. Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Wilson, N., Morales, A., Guy, N., & Thomson, G. (2017). Marked decline of sudden mass fatality events in New Zealand 1900 to 2015: The basic epidemiology. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41(3), 275-279. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12652

Clews, C., Brajkovich-Payne, R., Dwight, E., Fauzul, A. A., Burton, M., Carleton, O., Cook, J., Deroles, C., Faulkner, R., Furniss, M., Herewini, A., Huband, D., Jones, N., Kim, C. W., Stanley, J., Li, A., Wilson, N., Lu, J., & Thomson, G. (2016). Alcohol in urban streetscapes: A comparison of the use of Google Street View and on-street observation. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 442. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3115-9

Ivory, V. C., Blakely, T., Richardson, K., Thomson, G., & Carter, K. (2015). Do changes in neighborhood and household levels of smoking and deprivation result in changes in individual smoking behavior? A large-scale longitudinal study of New Zealand adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 182(5), 431-440. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv097

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

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

Wilson, N., Blaschke, P., Thomson, G., Nghiem, N., & Horrocks, J. (2015). Public health aspects of feral deer, goats and pigs in New Zealand: A review to inform eradication decisions. New Zealand Geographer, 71(3), 177-188. doi: 10.1111/nzg.12086

Wilson, N., Oliver, J., & Thomson, G. (2014). Smoking close to others and butt littering at bus stops: Pilot observational study. PeerJ, 2, e272. doi: 10.7717/peerj.272

Martin, N., McHugh, H., Murtagh, J., Oliver-Rose, C., Panesar, D., Pengelly, H., Rieper, S., Schofield, H., Singh, V., Speed, A., Strachan, R., Tapsell, T. K., Trafford, S., van Ryn, S., Ward, E., Whiting, R., Wilson-van Duin, M., Wu, Z., Purdie, G., van der Deen, F. S., Thomson, G., Pearson, A. L., & Wilson, N. (2014). Observational study of the visibility of branded tobacco packaging and smoking at outdoor bars/cafés in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1404). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Thomson, G., Oliver, J., & Wilson, N. (2014). Trends in smoking in vehicles at a local community-level in New Zealand: Wainuiomata 2005–2013. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1397). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

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 http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Pearson, A. L., Nutsford, D., & Thomson, G. (2014). Measuring visual exposure to smoking behaviours: A viewshed analysis of smoking at outdoor bars and cafés across a capital city's downtown area. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 300. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-300

Collinson, L., Wilson, N., & Thomson, G. (2014). Violent deaths of media workers associated with conflict in Iraq, 2003-2012. PeerJ, 2, e390. doi: 10.7717/peerj.390

Duignan, M., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2014). "Good intentions, but inadequate practices": Sun protection in early childhood centres: A qualitative study from New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1389). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Chan, J., Burnett, T., Baillie, R., Blomfield, S., Cameron-Christie, P., Dickson, J., Fleischl, W., Gandhi, S., Gordon, K., Heo, J., Kesy, A., Kao, A. Y., Kenny, C., Knight, A., Wilson, N., & Thomson, G. (2014). Smoking in outdoor areas of bars and cafés: Large differences between midday and evening prevalences. Drugs: Education, Prevention, & Policy, 21(6), 484-488. doi: 10.3109/09687637.2014.917273

Thomson, G., Russell, M., Jenkin, G., Patel, V., & Wilson, N. (2013). Informing outdoor smokefree policy: Methods for measuring the proportion of people smoking in outdoor public areas. Health & Place, 20, 19-24. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.11.006

Patel, V., Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2013). Objective measurement of area differences in 'private' smoking behaviour: Observing smoking in vehicles. Tobacco Control, 22, 130-135. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050119

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

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., Summers, J. A., Baker, M. G., Thomson, G., & Harper, G. (2013). Fatal injury epidemiology among the New Zealand military forces in the First World War. New Zealand Medical Journal, 126(1385). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Patel, V., Thomson, G. W., & Wilson, N. (2013). Cigarette butt littering in city streets: A new methodology for studying and results. Tobacco Control, 22, 59-62. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050529

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

Walton, M., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2013). Public policy to promote healthy nutrition in schools: Views of policymakers. Health Education Journal, 72(3), 283-291. doi: 10.1177/0017896912442950

Patel, V., Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2013). Attitudes of business people to proposed smokefree shopping streets. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 15(1), 287-290. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts115

Patel, V., Nowostawski, M., Thomson, G., Wilson, N., & Medlin, H. (2013). Developing a smartphone 'app' for public health research: The example of measuring observed smoking in vehicles. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 67, 446-452. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201774

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

Jenkin, G., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2012). Nutrition policy in whose interests? A New Zealand case study. Public Health Nutrition, 15(8), 1483-1488. doi: 10.1017/s1368980011003028

Hoek, J., Gendall, P., Gifford, H., Pirikahu, G., McCool, J., Pene, G., Edwards, R., & Thomson, G. (2012). Tobacco branding, plain packaging, pictorial warnings, and symbolic consumption. Qualitative Health Research, 22(5), 630-639. doi: 10.1177/1049732311431070

Hoek, J., Vaudrey, R., Gendall, P., Edwards, R., & Thomson, G. (2012). Tobacco retail displays: A comparison of industry arguments and retailers' experiences. Tobacco Control, 21(5), 497-501. doi: 10.1136/tc.2011.043687

Patel, V., Thomson, G., & Wilson, N. (2012). Smoking increases air pollution levels in city streets: Observational and fine particulate data. Health & Place, 18(5), 1202-1205. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.05.005

Thomson, G., Edwards, R., Wilson, N., & Blakely, T. (2012). What are the elements of the tobacco endgame? Tobacco Control, 21(2), 293-295. doi: 10.1136/tc.2010.040881

Edwards, R., Peace, J., Stanley, J., Atkinson, J., Wilson, N., & Thomson, G. (2012). Setting a good example? Changes in smoking prevalence among key occupational groups in New Zealand: Evidence from the 1981 and 2006 censuses. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 14(3), 329-337. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr218

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