Māori focus of smoking study

A new University of Auckland study taking place this year is aimed at the goal of reducing smoking amongst New Zealanders to five per cent or less by 2025.

More than 2000 Māori participants from the Lakes District Health Board region will be involved in the study that compares the effectiveness of two quit smoking aids, Cytisine and Varenicline.

A study involving 200 Māori participants from the Lakes District Health Board region will compare the effectiveness of two quit smoking aids, Cytisine and Varenicline. Photo: Tracy Hardy

The study will be led by Associate Professor Natalie Walker from the University's National Institute of Health Innovation.

'The Cytisine study focusses on Māori because the rate of smoking is so high in this group and so they potentially have the most to gain from help to quit smoking,” explains Dr Walker.

'We want to find out if the proportion of people who successfully stop smoking after taking Cytisine is similar to those taking Varenicline. If cytisine is effective, has an acceptable safety profile, and is cost-effective, it has substantial potential for use as an alternative treatment to help people quit smoking.”

Dr Walker says cytisine is the cheaper option for a quit medication and is found in kowhai. But while it's not sourced from the native plant, it may be more acceptable to Māori.

'Our team wants to find out if Cytisine is acceptable, reliable, effective and safe in this population.”

The study team includes Dr Barry Smith (Te Rarawa/ Ngāti Kahu) and includes a kaitiaki advisory group for the team to consult during the research.

Last year, this research group published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the world's first trial comparing Cytisine to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

The HRC-funded study found that 40 percent using Cytisine were still not smoking after one month, compared 31 percent with NRT. Cytisine was also more effective than NRT at one week, two months and six months.

Those results, the lower costs of Cytisine, and the conclusion that it is ‘more clinically effective and cost effective than varenicline' lead to the need for a head-to-head trial.

The trial is one of two studies being undertaken by the university, with the second study focussing on the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD.

Both studies were funded for a total of just under $2.8 million by the Health Research Council NZ.


No much

Posted on 21-06-2016 14:18 | By Crash test dummies

That is all there is to it, woman especially are the highest %. A bad thing getting worse ...

what about us?

Posted on 21-06-2016 15:11 | By Captain Sensible

What about other races that smoke? In fact, why care about race...why not just help all smokers, not just the maori smokers????????????


Posted on 21-06-2016 16:15 | By How about this view!

Being a former smoker and therefore probably more anti-smoking than many others, I have noticed the huge difference in numbers between Maori youth and non-Maori youth in terms of smoking. They appear to be over-represented by maybe two or three to one with non-Maori. I don't know why this should be the case, but would put up the suggestion that there is still a perception amongst young Maori that by smoking you look cool and staunch. Then you spend some time in the CBD and see the vagrant community walking around looking for the discarded remnants of others peoples smokes. Just a waste!


Posted on 22-06-2016 10:27 | By Corwen

It all about choices. A lot of money is spent on people making dumb choices.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment.