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Nicotine Research Group News (2018)

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The NRG is currently conducting a study on alternative nicotine products and smoking cessation support. You can find study details, including who to contact, by clicking on the link below.

Tobacco Harm Reduction study



We congratulate Dr Debbie Robson and Prof Ann McNeill, who have been honoured with NIHR Know-Your-CLAHRC 2018 awards for 'Most Innovative Collaboration'. This award acknowledges their collaboration with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to form the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership, as part of their work on the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South London (CLAHRC Psychosis Theme) to address inequalities in smoking rates amongst peope with and without a mental illness. More details here


Prof Ann McNeill, whose research ranks amongst the top 1% of cited works in the Social Sciences field, is named a Highly Cited Researcher 2018 for the second consecutive year.

According to Clarivate Analytics, 'this list recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science'. 



Our Nicotine Research Group (NRG) and researchers from the University of Bath call for a tax hike for Roll-Your-Own cigarettes and more support for smokers to quit smoking in light of new research findings.


University of Bath press release

Dr Rob Branston (University of Bath) comments on new study in relation to higher taxation for Roll-Your-Own cigarettes.



Tom-AinscoughWe would like to congratulate Tom Ainscough on officially being awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy under the supervision of Prof Ann McNeill and Dr Leonie Brose.Tom's thesis was titled 'Randomised trial to test Contingency Management to support smoking cessation amongst persistent opiate-addicts in treatment, investigating initial effect and factors influencing persistence or breakdown'.







In a BBC news feature on the rise of vapers in Britain to 'over 3 million', Senior Lecturer Dr Leonie Brose comments on the misconception that vaping has similar associated harms to smoking. Findings were based on research conducted with the nonprofit organisation Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) which surveyed e-cigarette users in Britain between 2014-2018.



We are delighted to announce that Prof Ann McNeill has been appointed a Fellow of the International Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT). This award recognises Professor McNeill’s outstanding leadership and longstanding contribution to progressing research on nicotine and tobacco addiction. Ann’s research and activities in the field of nicotine and tobacco have contributed to national debates, policy changes and the establishment of stop smoking services in the UK with implications for harm reduction, smoking cessation and improved health outcomes. Her international research collaborations also ensure that the impact generated has truly world-wide reach.
On hearing of the award Ann commented: ‘It’s a privilege to have been acknowledged in this way. I’m enormously grateful to colleagues in the Nicotine Research Group and elsewhere who nominated me and I’m lucky to work with such a supportive and stimulating group. Despite our efforts, smoking continues to challenge us as it remains the largest single cause of preventable disease and death in the UK and many other countries around the world, so plenty of work ahead’.
The SRNT is a professional association of academics, researchers, clinicians and government officials working across the field of nicotine and tobacco with members in over 40 countries.



Prof Ann McNeill and Dr Timea Partos in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bath (Dr Robert Branston, Prof. Anna Gilmore and Dr Rosemary Hiscock) have devised a new way of calculating tobacco affordability. Using this new method, they show that despite price rises, tobacco has only become a little less affordable, but not enough to change behaviours for the 9 million UK adults who continue to smoke.

Full access to recently published paper in the BMJ's journal Tobacco Control: 'Tobacco pricing still affordable, despite rising prices'. 



Members of the Nicotine Research Group presenting at the 'UKCTAS 10-year Celebration Event' which took place from 16-17 July at the University of Notttingham
Debbie Robson_UKCTAS conference 2018Dr Debbie Robson giving a talk on the development and evaluation of smoke-free policy in South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust.
Leonie Brose_UKCTAS conference 2018Dr Leonie Brose presenting on smoking cessation in smokers with mental health problems.
Katie East_UKCTAS conference 2018
Miss Katie East presenting on changes in social norms towards smoking.



Tina Jahnel 2018

We welcome Miss Tina Jahnel, a visiting research PhD student from the University of Tasmania, who is collaborating with the Nicotine Research group (NRG) for 2 months under the supervision of Dr Leonie Brose.

Tina's research aims to understand socioeconomic inequalities in smoking. 







The Nicotine Research Group looks forward to joining esteemed colleagues from the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) when it holds its final conference from 16th-17th July 2018 at the University of Nottingham to celebrate ten years of impactful research and teaching contributions to the fields of tobacco and alcohol studies. Full details of the 'UKCTAS 10-year Celebration Event' here



The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) is delighted to be offering the CPD course - Nicotine & Tobacco: Current issues, Policy & Practice again, and Prof Ann McNeill will be leading a session on 'Smoking and Mental Health'.
Date: 21-24 May 2018
Venue: University of Stirling, Scotland
You can access and download an application form here. Completed forms should be sent to
For more information about this course, contact Evonne Flemming: e. 01786 466336



Debbie Robson 2018Congratulations to Dr Debbie Robson for winning Gold Prize in the 'Addictions Clinical Academic Group (CAG) Early Career Research' competition. Her entry and outstanding paper 'Effect of implementation of a smoke-free policy on physical violence in a psychiatric inpatient setting: an interrupted time series analysis', reporting on the impact of introduction of a smoke-free policy in an inpatient psychiatric ward environment, was published in Lancet Psychiatry in 2017.

Debbie’s paper examined the disproportionately high level of smoking amongst this population and used a time-series analysis method to examine whether there was an increase in violent behaviour associated with the introduction of the smoke-free policy, which had been a concern for a number of clinicians and managers. The analysis demonstrated that the change was in fact a reduction of violent episodes, thereby resolving one of the attitudinal obstacles to wider introduction of smoke-free policies.  


The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) is delighted to be offering the CPD course - Nicotine & Tobacco: Current issues, Policy & Practice again, and Prof Ann McNeill will be leading a session on 'Smoking and Mental Health'.
Date: 21-24 May 2018
Venue: University of Stirling, Scotland
You can access and download an application form here. Completed forms should be sent to
For more information about this course, contact Evonne Flemming: e., t. 01786 466336



Following the publication of the 2018 Public Health England (PHE) evidence review,  Dr Leonie Brose discusses e-cigarette use, safety, smoking prevalence and quitting rates (in the UK) with Ian Sample in The Guardian Science Weekly podcast.


A new Public Health England (PHE) evidence review on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products has been published. This evidence-based report, led by Prof. Ann McNeill and co-authored by Dr Leonie Brose, Rob Calder, Prof Linda Bauld (University of Stirling) and Dr Debbie Robson, highlights the potential of e-cigarettes to successfully support smokers' quitting attempts and contribute to reducing the harmfulness of nicotine use associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, for those who still wish to use nicotine or cannot stop smoking. Read more



Press coverage: the PHE press releaseBBC NewsThe Guardian; The TimesThe International Business Times; ITV News; The Independent; The Evening Standard; The Daily Telegraph; The Mirror and The Sun.



Alcohol Master's Module 2018

Registration now open for the UKCTAS 30 Credit Master's module in Alcohol, Problems, Policy & Practice as part of the MSc in Addiction Studies

Date: 5-9 February 2018

Venue: Addiction Sciences Building (ASB), 4 Windsor Walk. Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London. London. SE5 8BB

Contact for more information.

Dr Sally Mallow introduces the 'Alcohol, Problems, Policy & Practice' module




The UK Electronic Cigarette Research Forum (UKECRF) will be holding a meeting on 19 January to discuss e-cigarette research, policy and practice. The UKECRF holds three meetings per year chaired by Professor Ann McNeill, co-hosted by Professor Linda Bauld (University of Stirling) and Martin Dockrell (Public Health England), and coordinated by CRUK’s Tobacco Control Policy team.



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