Technical Expert Advisory Group: Low Nicotine Smoked Tobacco Products

The Ministry of Health has established a Technical Expert Advisory Group to support the development of a regulatory scheme to reduce the addictiveness and appeal of smoked tobacco products.

About the Technical Expert Advisory Group: Low Nicotine Smoked Tobacco Products

Members of the Technical Expert Advisory Group are based across the globe and will offer critical insight and technical expertise to help the Ministry of Health formulate low nicotine smoked tobacco product regulations,

The work of the Technical Expert Advisory Group is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Technical Advisory Group members

Dr Natalie Walker - Chair

Dr Natalie Walker is Associate Professor in Population Health at the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She currently leads the Addiction Research programme at NIHI and is Director of the Faculty Centre for Addiction Research. Her primary area of interest is the conduct of phase III pragmatic community-based clinical trials, particularly in the field of smoking cessation.

Dr Penny Truman

Dr Penny Truman is a biochemist, with experience in analytical methodologies, working at Massey University. She has an MBIE-funded project on the biochemical basis of tobacco dependence, concentrating on the effects of monoamine oxidase inhibitors in tobacco smoke. She has worked in the general field of smoking cessation for over ten years and has been a member of End Smoking New Zealand for much of that time.

Dr Mary Jane McCarthy

Dr Mary Jane McCarthy is the Manager of Forensic Toxicology and Pharmaceuticals at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and works across a range of service delivery and research platforms that focus on the reduction of harm from drugs and other substances Dr McCarthy has a PhD from the University of London in neuro-molecular pharmacology and has worked extensively in the pharmaceutical sector in the UK. She worked for 10 years in the Ministry of Health across a range of regulatory change and design since her move to ESR. One of her research groups is looking at gaining a deeper understanding of the potential for harm of vaping products and is currently investigating the contents of products on the New Zealand market using analytical chemistry approaches.

Dr Eric Donny

Dr Eric Donny is a Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, United States of America (USA). He is an expert in nicotine behavioural pharmacology and has vast knowledge of the effects of nicotine in tobacco including individual differences in nicotine dependence, the impact of nicotine on other reinforcers, and the science underlying low nicotine cigarettes. For the past 10 years, he has directed the Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes, a USA National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration cooperative agreement to advance understanding of how product standards that would be greatly reduce the nicotine in cigarettes would impact public health. Dr Donny is also the director of Wake Forest Tobacco Control Centre of Excellence, which aims to reduce smoking and its related burdens through research, education, training, treatment, and implementation.

Dr David Ashley

David Ashley is currently a Research Professor in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1982 from Emory University. He spent 27 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health and 7 years as the inaugural Director of the Office of Science at the Centre of Tobacco Products (CTP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He has published over 180 peer-revied articles and book chapters related to biophysics, environmental chemicals, biomarkers of exposure and the constituents of tobacco and tobacco smoke.

Dr George Laking

Dr George Laking (Te Whakatōhea) is a medical oncologist in Auckland and Whangārei, with a focus on gastrointestinal cancer, sarcoma, and adolescent and young adult oncology. George is actively involved in policy and advocacy. His membership includes, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), National Institute for Health Innovation, and board member of Hei Ahuru Mowai Māori Cancer Leadership Aotearoa. He is also the chair of the Māori Health Committee or RACP and co-medical director of Cancer Society New Zealand.


Work programme

The Technical Expert Advisory Group will advise the Ministry of Health on appropriate nicotine levels and regulatory and testing standards.

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