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Cytisine vs varenicline for smoking cessation in New Zealand

RAUORA Trial: Cytisine vs varenicline for smoking cessation in New Zealand

RAUORA Trial is a study evaluating whether cytisine, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist (like varenicline) found in some plants is effective, safe and cost-effective compared with varenicline for smoking cessation in Māori and the whānau (extended family) of Māori.

Dr Subhash Pokhrel from Health Economics Theme is leading the economics component of the RAUORA trial. New Zealand (NZ) has a smoke‐free 2025 goal (i.e. < 5% of adults smoking by 2025). To achieve this goal, net smoking cessation rates need to increase substantially, particularly for Māori who, in 2016, comprised 14% of the NZ population, who have a high prevalence of daily smoking (33%) compared with the general population (14%). Consequently, Māori has high rates of smoking‐related disease, contributing to the 7–8‐year life‐expectancy gap between Māori and non‐Māori in NZ. Offering cytisine may be a potentially cost-effective strategy in achieving this goal.

This is a pragmatic, community-based, open-label randomized non-inferiority trial based in the Lakes District Health Board region, NZ.


Cytisine versus varenicline for smoking cessation for Māori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) and their extended family: protocol for a randomized non‐inferiority trial

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Subhash Pokhrel - Subhash is a professor of health economics and the Head of Department of Health Sciences and the Lead of the Health Economics Research Group (HERG). Subhash's research has contributed to several public health policies. The suite of NICE Public Health ROI Tools – which provided the basis for many public health investment decisions in England - was informed by the work on tobacco control led by Subhash. The ROI tools are practical, customisable models to help make real-world decisions in context of local government decision-making. Economic arguments are needed to make the business case for public health investments. Subhash led the roll out of ROI work to several European nations through a €2 million multi-centre European Commission funded study, EQUIPT. He has been the coordinator of a large scale inter-disciplinary collaboration of national and international expertise. Subhash is the lead author of a book, ROI in Public Health Policy: Supporting Decision Making (Palgrave Macmillan). Subhash’s work in public health research has been as diverse as the discipline itself – from developing a household decision making pathway for child health care in low- and middle income countries (LMICs) to quantifying the economic impact of breastfeeding promotion in industrialised countries; from evaluating health insurance for its population health impact in LMICs to finding out what interventions improve physical activity globally. Subhash is intrigued by the following question: In LMICs and industrialised countries, what works to improve population health outcomes and at what cost? Google Profile Orcid Profile ResearchGate BURA Profile https://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/chmls/health-sciences

Related Research Group(s)

Health Economics (HERG)

Health Economics (HERG) - Our strategic focus is on economic evaluation and systematic reviews of a broad range of clinical and health service technologies by providing high-quality, applied, policy-relevant research, as well as developing and refining methods to increase the rigour and relevance of such studies.

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Project last modified 20/10/2021