Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 774 - Addictive Consumptions and Public Health

15 Points

Semester 2



Focuses on the extensive health impacts of addictive consumptions, particularly in relation to the legalised consumptions of tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Outlines applications of public health principles to reducing harm from these consumptions. Critically examines the role of corporate industrial complexes in promoting these consumptions and in preventing policy and legislative reforms.


Restriction: POPLPRAC 709

Programme and course advice

This course is most relevant to students pursuing careers in health research, public health, mental health and specialist practice in alcohol and other drugs. This course would suit a wide variety of students interested in developing a frame-work for thinking about and processing ideas on alcohol, drugs and other addictions. Students enrolled in the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma with a specialisation in either Public Health or Alcohol and Drug Studies are strongly encouraged to enrol. 

Learning and teaching

The course will consist of four block teaching days on Mondays 9am-4pm in Semester 2 plus self-directed reading and assignments. The reading will focus both on a general knowledge of the field and the development of specialist interests. The teaching assumes that students will devote time between each block to read the prescribed text and readings. Students will be encouraged to develop their own perspectives and interests and to relate these to their work environment. Assignment work assumes significant self-directed reading into specialist interest areas. Class teaching will involve a mixture of presentations and discussion. Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to clearly communicate both consenting and dissenting viewpoints.

The block teaching is intended to facilitate access for students working full-time and/or coming from outside Auckland. Students are expected to engage in a minimum of six hours of reading per week. The remaining 54 hours will be devoted to assignments and examination preparation (a total of 150 hours for the course as a whole).

Block days will be interspersed with a mixture of learning activities including lectures, group discussions debates. Students will be asked to present on their applied intervention project during the final block.

Goals of the course

  • Promote an in depth understanding of public health research and theory in tobacco, alcohol and gambling studies
  • Relate these connections to upstream determinants of health and inequalities
  • Connect broader public health principles with practice in both client and public health services
  • Instil interest and passion for the broader political and policy dimensions to addictive consumptions


Learning outcomes 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the impacts of addictive consumptions on health
  • Apply the principles of public health and harm reduction to specific population contexts
  • Design an intervention, drawing on public health literature with attention to context and evaluation components
  • Critically appraise relevant health, policy and industry dimensions of an addictive consumption issue


Content outline

The content of the course will be divided into four content areas, each covered in the four separate one-day blocks:

Public health focus

• History of public health approaches to tobacco, alcohol & gambling

• Epidemiology: Who is exposed? Who is harmed?

• Global challenges and global responses

• Addiction industry studies

Understanding connections

• Commodification and industrial expansion of consumptions

• The total consumption model

• Socio-cultural supports for consumption

• Māori smoking and public health

Intervention frameworks

• Harm reduction and public health

• Policy and regulation responses to gambling

• Community responses to consumption-related harm

• Accepting money from industry sources


• Student presentations

• Developing the integrity of research

• Strengths and weaknesses of a cross-consumption focus

Campus teaching dates 

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. The lecture dates are available on the web site.

Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


  • Assignment 1: Critical analysis of a media issues (15%)
  • Assignment 2: Class presentation on policy issue (10%)
  • Assignment 3: Applied intervention proposal (35%)
  • Final Exam (40%) incorporating a critical analysis of a consumption issue debated in the media.

Note that the examination timetables are not finalised and available to students until 6-8 weeks into the semester.

Learning resources

Required readings will be comprised of a set of recent and relevant journal articles. 

Recommended books include: T. F. Babor et. al. (2010) Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity (OUP), S. Chapman (2007) Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History. Oxford: Blackwell. P.J. Adams (2015) Accepting Industry Money from Tobacco, Alcohol and Gambling: A Dangerous Consumption (Cambridge UP).

Selected articles are provided at the first class during the course.

Course Director

Course Administrator