COVID-19: opportunities for public health ethics?

Public health ethics is the discipline that ensures that public health professionals and policy makers explain what they do, and why. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ethical deliberations often did not feature explicitly in public health decisions, thus reducing transparency and consistency in decision-making processes, and resulting in loss of trust by the general public. A public health ethics framework based on principles would add to transparency and consistency in public health decision-making.

COVID-19: decision-making in public health

Against a background of stalling UK life expectancy, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a different way of working for public health to respond quickly to new and many demands. At the same time, public health teams had to ensure they did not concentrate on the immediate crisis at the expense of mitigating longer-term impacts of the pandemic. This was, and is, a major challenge with additional demands on an already hard-pressed workforce.

From the ‘fragile rationalist’ to ‘collective resilience’: what human psychology has taught us about the COVID-19 pandemic and what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about human psychology

A successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic is dependent on changing human behaviour to limit proximal interactions with others. Accordingly, governments have introduced severe constraints upon freedoms to move and to mix. This has been accompanied by doubts as to whether the public would abide by these constraints. Such doubts are underpinned by a psychological model of individuals as fragile rationalists who have limited cognitive capacities, who panic under pressure and turn a crisis into a tragedy. Drawing on evidence from the UK, we show that this did not occur.

Time to take care: fighting HIV with health promotion in Edinburgh, 1983–1996

During the 1980s and 1990s, Edinburgh and the Lothians suffered significantly high rates of HIV infections, considered to be the result of a high proportion of intravenous drug users sharing injecting equipment. This young, sexually active cohort had the potential to pose a threat to the wider population via heterosexual spread, and hence measures were required to prevent, where possible, a second wave of the epidemic.

Electronic cigarettes: a brief update


More people are using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and fewer people are smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes. A wide variety of e-cigarettes are available and there is emerging evidence that they may help with smoking cessation. This evidence-based clinical review summarises the latest evidence regarding use of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids. The ongoing debate surrounding the safety and regulation of e-cigarettes is also discussed.

Public health aspects of tuberculosis

This article covers public health aspects of the investigation and management of people who are infected with tuberculosis (TB). It contains a brief overview of the recent epidemiology of TB in Scotland, focusing on changes in Scottish TB incidence and describing some epidemiological associations. We then describe the initial public health assessment of those with suspected TB and responses that should be initiated. It does not address issues relating to the clinical treatment of patients with TB.