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Research Associate Professor George Thomson

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.

George’s CV is available here

Contact Details
Email George Thomson
Phone +64 4 385 5999 ext 6054
Fax +64 4 389 5319
Post Department of Public Health
School of Medicine
University of Otago
New Zealand

Recent publications

  • Ivory V, Blakely T, Richardson K, Thomson G, Carter K. 2015. Do changes in neighbourhood 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 In Press February 2015.
  •  Healey B, Hoek J, Wilson N, Thomson G, Taylor S, Edwards R. Youth exposure to in-vehicle second-hand smoke and their smoking behaviours: trends and associations in repeated national surveys (2006-12). Tob Control 2015;24:146-152.
  •  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, Trafford S, van Ryn S, Ward E, Whiting R, Wilson-van Duin M, Wu Z, Purdie G, van der Deen FS, Thomson G, Pearson AL, Wilson N. Observational Study of the Visibility of Branded Tobacco Packaging and Smoking at Outdoor Bars/Cafés. N Z Med J 2014; 127(1404):27-36
  •  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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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). Patel V, Nowostawski M, Thomson G, Wilson N, Medlin H.
  • Developing a smartphone “app” for public health research: The example of measuring observed smoking in vehicles. J Epidemiol Commun Health 2013;3;67:446–452.
  • Wilson N, Thomson G, Edwards R, Blakely T. Potential Advantages and Disadvantages of an Endgame Strategy: A “Sinking Lid” on Tobacco Supply. Tob Control 2013;22:i18-i21. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050791
  • Patel V, Thomson G, Wilson N. Attitudes of business people to proposed smokefree shopping streets. Nicotine Tob Res 2013;15:287-90.
  • McCool J, Hoek J, Edwards R, Thomson G, Gifford H. Crossing the smoking divide for young adults: expressions of stigma and identity among smokers and non-smokers. Nicotine Tob Res 2013; 15:552-6.
  •  Edwards R, Wilson N, Peace J, Weerasekera D, Thomson G, Gifford H. Support for a tobacco endgame and increased regulation of the tobacco industry among New Zealand smokers: results from a National Survey. Tob Control 2013;22:e86-e93, doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050324
  •  Thomson G, Russell M, Jenkin G, Patel V, Wilson N. Informing outdoor smokefree policy: Methods for measuring the proportion of people smoking in outdoor public areas. Health & Place 2013;20:19-24.