ASPIRE Aotearoa is a partnership between major Aotearoa New Zealand research groups carrying out tobacco control research to help achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal equitably.  We launched in July 2011. 

ASPIRE Aotearoa brings together leading tobacco control researchers and health service groups in Aotearoa and strengthens existing collaborations. ASPIRE Aotearoa became a University of Otago Research Theme in November 2011 and a University of Otago Research Centre in 2019.

The ASPIRE Aotearoa tohu (logo) was developed by designer Zeus Te Ahuru (Ngāti Hikairo, Tūwharetoa). It reflects the importance of clean air for our tinana (body), wairua (who we are and connections), whānau (relationships and agency), and hinengaro (mental wellbeing). The koru design symbolises new life, strength, and peace. This reflects our commitment to achieving a tobacco free Aotearoa and the profound impact on our wellbeing reaching this goal will have.

Our research focuses on policy measures that have the potential to substantially reduce smoking prevalence and smoking-related inequities by greatly reducing the appeal and addictiveness, availability, and affordability of cigarettes and tobacco.* These measures will greatly reduce inequities and profoundly benefit young people. Our translational mixed methods approaches link findings from large surveys, experimental and observational studies, and qualitative work. We work closely with research end-users, including policy makers, advocates, and community groups, to ensure our work contributes directly to reductions in smoking prevalence. We work in partnership with key communities so that our work is relevant for them, supports their work, and contributes to development opportunities.

We will continue to expand our collaborations, develop innovative methods, use creative dissemination, and strengthen uptake of our findings. We look forward to hosting hui, seminars, webinars, and conferences that bring together the best researchers in tobacco control to debate our findings and inform our future work.


*The tobacco plant was appropriated from Turtle Island (the Americas) by Western travellers and brought back to Europe. It then became a recreational product, however its addictive nature was soon exploited, and it was quickly commercialised. It was this recreational and commercialised product that was introduced to Aotearoa. Because all tobacco is exotic to Aotearoa, we use terms such as "tobacco control" and the "tobacco epidemic". However, in using these terms we are specifically referring to commercial tobacco and not the sacred tobacco that continues to play important customary roles in the lives of First Nations, Native Americans, and the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.