Perth Based Oceania Tobacco Control Conference

Anaru Waa is a Researcher/Lecturer of Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare, the Dept of Public Health Otago University. He gives his perspective on the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference held in Perth Oct 2015.

1.      What were two of your highlights from the recent Perth Based Oceania Tobacco Control Conference?

The first highlight was attending the indigenous gateway hui on the day before the conference. It was great to see what all our Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island brothers and sisters have been up to. This also links to another highlight – hearing about the 'Talking About the Smokes' project – a partner research programme to the International Tobacco Control Project.

2.      One new message/theme/research interest you picked up at the conference?

Perhaps not so much of a message or a theme but I was reminded by how important it is to have good communication channels between researchers, practitioners, government departments, and ministers. This really helps facilitate engagement and change. It seems this has played an important role in the tobacco control landscape in Australia. I’m not so sure this communication is so open in Aotearoa – especially when the government commitment to the 2025 goal has not yet been made clear, and when effective ways to reducing smoking disparities has not been put into action yet.

3.      Any other key messages from the conference that you would like to encourage others to think about?

There was a good balanced and robust discussion around e-cigarettes. They weren’t discounted but equally there were calls to understand more about the positive or negative impacts if they were to be adopted. So the message would be, as always, having evidence to support interventions for tobacco control (of course I’ll say that being a researcher…) but also a good measure of common sense.

4.      Any improvements you would like to see for the next conference to increase its usefulness?

The Oceania conference is a great place where policy, practice and research come together and the organisers did a good job bringing together the 2015 conference. For me, being a researcher, there could be a greater presence of the research being done with indigenous peoples to address tobacco. This could include thinking about how we integrate indigenous themes in mainstream research, how we support decolonizing research methodologies (e.g. kaupapa Māori research), how we develop our indigenous research capacity, and how we better meet the needs of our communities.

Thank you Anaru, ngā mihi (form the Te Ara Hā Ora & Hapai te Hauora team)