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Letter | Smokefree 2025 – use of mass media in New Zealand lacks alignment with evidence and needs

A steady decline in funding for mass media campaigns to promote smoking reduction is undermining the Government’s goal to achieve a smokefree New Zealand by 2025, warn ASPIRE2025 researchers in a letter published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Analysis of campaigns by the main organisations implementing national tobacco control mass media campaigns show a 43.8% reduction in expenditure between 2008/9 and 2012/13.

The researchers also state that, with some exceptions, recent tobacco control campaigns have rarely included approaches shown to have the greatest impact on promoting quit attempts and reducing smoking initiation. These approaches include hard-hitting health messages and ‘denormalisation’ campaigns that highlight the hazardous and addictive nature of tobacco products, and expose tactics the tobacco industry uses to undermine tobacco control efforts.

However, as stated in the media release relating to these findings, there are some promising developments. This includes reports that mass media funding for tobacco control through the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) will increase in 2014, and the recent launch of the HPA’s ‘Stop before you start’ campaign, which highlights the negative health and social impacts of smoking and aims to increase young adults’ resistance to tobacco.

HPA's 2014 'Stop before you start' campaign

HPA’s 2014 ‘Stop before you start’ campaign

To view the letter, available online for early view, please click here.

Or to read the media release please click here.

Citation

Edwards, R., Hoek, J. and van der Deen, F. (2014). Smokefree 2025 – use of mass media in New Zealand lacks alignment with evidence and needs. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12246

For further information contact:
Professor Richard Edwards
University of Otago, Wellington
email: richard.edwards@otago.ac.nz