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Nicotine Research Group News (2019)

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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



More news coming soon. You can also stay in touch by following us on Twitter @KingsNRG



Leonie-BroseDr Leonie Brose has written an article for the BBC titled 'Who are the Smokers that haven't quit?'. The piece looks at smoking trends over the past forty years and the impact education, psychosocial support, sociodemographic and socioeconomic status (especially disadvantaged groups) can have on smoking status and the success rates of those trying to quit smoking. The article also discusses the benefits of harm reduction interventions (like switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes with support) and impact on mental health outcomes.



chinye-osai-140x180                                      Rob-CalderThree cheers to Miss Chinye Osai for officially being awarded a Master's degree in Psychology & Neuroscience of Mental Health and Dr Rob Calder a doctorate degree at King's Graduation Ceremony.





We congratulate two members of the NRG who have been awarded the Addictions Clinical Academic Group (CAG) Early Career Research (ECR) prize.

Erikas-SimonaviciusMr Erikas Simonavicius received the Addictions CAG ECR Silver Award for his systematic literature review on heat-not-burn tobacco products 'Heat-not-burn tobacco products: a systematic literature review' published in Tobacco Control. It was in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric and had a Field-Weighted Citation Impact of 19.99. Erikas presented his review findings at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT-Europe) conference in Munich, Germany, and excerpts from his presentation were quoted in online articles (Süddeutsche Zeitung and New Scientist). 



Timea-PartosDr Timea Partos received the Bronze Award for her leading role in research into taxation and retail pricing of tobacco products. Timea's paper 'Keeping smoking affordable in higher tax environments via smoking thinner roll-your-own cigarettes: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey 2006-15', published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (impact factor = 3.322), was a comparative study across four countries (the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA) which used data from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) study. This research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has attracted strong interest in the UK from policy advocate groups such as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), government policymakers and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Timea's research has also created greater awareness amongst the research community of the importance of considering similar taxation structures in other jurisdictions.



Prof Ann McNeill has been interviewed by Dr Debbie Robson as part of the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) Women in Addiction series, where she talks about her career trajectory, what drew her to tobacco control research, what continues to keep her passionate and committed to driving the field forward, and what it is like leading the Nicotine Research Group and being Chair of the IoPPN Self-Assessment team.

You can watch Ann's interview with Dr Robson here (external link).




We are delighted to announce that the NRG will be leading a mental health theme as part of a new £5.9M, five-year consortium called SPECTRUM (Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce ineqUalities and harM). This project, which is part-funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP), is being led by Prof Linda Bauld (University of Edinburgh) in collaboration with other UKCTAS academics.

More on this exciting new collaboration on the UKCTAS website here and the NIHR website here.



An independent literature review on the health risks of heat-not-burn tobacco products which was conducted by the NRG's Mr Erikas Simonavicius has been mentioned in an online article by the New Scientist. The article talks about whether or not heat-not-burn tobacco products are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.




The NRG has quite a few achievements to celebrate this month!


Dr Debbie Robson was one of several talented researchers invited to speak about her ground-breaking research on smoke-free policy implementation within mental health settings at the inaugural IoPPN Research Festival held on 30 April 2019 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).

Debbie Robson_IoPPN research festival 2019You can listen to Debbie's pre-presentation interview with The Mental Elf on Soundcloud and read a synopsis of her (and other IoPPN researchers') work in the IoPPN Research Festival's online programme here.



Ann-McNeillWe are delighted to annouce that Prof Ann McNeill has been appointed Vice Dean (Culture, Diversity & Inclusion) at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), to provide academic and strategic leadership as well as embedding diversity and inclusion (D&I) in all aspects of work across the IoPPN.

Of her appointment Ann said: "Changing the culture of an organisation does not happen overnight but we are putting processes in place to create the supportive environment necessary to ensure all staff and students can maximise their potential. I would like to thank our committed and dedicated infrastructure of SAT members, Champions, Working Groups and Networks who give up their time voluntarily to improve the IoPPN’s culture. Together, with the work of the SAT Co-Chair Dr Stephani Hatch, a proficient core D&I team, and supportive senior management, change is both feasible and achievable, but we still have a long way to go."



Leonie-BroseWe congratulate Dr Leonie Brose who is now Senior Lecturer for Education and Training in the Addictions Department. As part of her role, she is taking the lead on the MSc Addiction Studies at King’s and collaborating with colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University and Adelaide University to lead the International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS).






We celebrate with the NRG's Dr Rob Calder on being officially awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy under the supervision of Dr Kyle Dyer and Prof Jo Neale. Rob's thesis was titled 'Designing online training to improve best practice among the substance misuse workforce: a mixed methods study'.





At this month's NRG research meeting, Miss Hannah Walsh treated us to an insightful presentation of her work trip to Spain (sponsored by the Society for the Study of Addiction) where she met with several clinicians and researchers to discuss tobacco and cannabis co-use, regional harm reduction policies and practices, and collaborative opportunities. (The photo was very last minute, so thanks to Hannah for accepting to be in it and to Katie for offering to take it!)

Hannah Walsh_SSA travel award pptFor a closer look at all the ground Hannah covered and knowledge that was exchanged, have a read of her SSA trip report here and an article (in Spanish) about her research on dual use (tobacco and cannabis) published by the Unitat de Control del Tabac.



A recent paper, The association between smoking and electronic cigarette use in a cohort of young people, authored by PhD student and lead author Miss Katie East, Dr Sara Hitchman, Prof Ann McNeill and colleagues from UKCTAS, PHE and ASH, has been included in the Journal of Adolescent Health's '2018 Year in Review' as one of the most important topics in adolescent and young adult health and medicine in 2018. Congratulations all!



The Nicotine Research Group is thoroughly delighted to announce that Prof Ann McNeill has been appointed a NIHR Senior Investigator in Public Health. In the NIHR's own words: "Senior Investigators are among the most prominent and prestigious researchers funded by the NIHR and the most outstanding leaders of patient and people-based research".

Full list of NIHR Senior Investigators 2019 here



NRG-Harm Reduction IMAGE_427X260

An independent report, led by Prof Ann McNeill, Dr Leonie Brose, Mr Rob Calder and Dr Debbie Robson and commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), finds regular e-cigarette use among British adults has plateaued and just over a third of adult smokers have never tried one. Only 4% of quit attempts made through Stop Smoking Services use an e-cigarette, despite this being an effective approach.

Read the full article on the King's College London news page here

Press coverage

Public Health England (blog)
Suffolk - Online News




Katie East_2019 SRNT poster

Miss Katie East was one of the PhD students awarded a merit-based SRNT travel grant to support her attendance at the SRNT 25th Annual Meeting where she presented a poster on findings on social norms towards smoking and electronic cigarettes in seven European countries based on data from the European Regulatory Science on Tobacco: Policy implementation to reduce lung diseases (EUREST-PLUS) and the International Tobacco Control (ITC) European Surveys.



It's official - Congratulations Dr Tom Ainscough!


Great to see Dr Thomas Ainscough (with Dr Leonie Brose) enjoying his graduation ceremony at the Southbank Centre, London after being officially awarded his PhD! Tom was supervised by Prof Ann McNeill and Dr Leonie Brose, and his 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'.



Research into tobacco pricing, affordability and smoking cessation conducted by Dr Timea Partos, Prof Ann McNeill and colleagues from the University of Bath and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) has been cited in the online Canadian newspaper, La Presse. The full article (in French) titled 'Plaidoyer en faveur d'un prix unique pour les cigarettes' (translation: 'Advocating for a single price for cigarettes') can be found here.

The paper Individualised tobacco affordability in the UK 2002–2014: findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, authored by Timea R Partos, Rob Branston, Rosemary Hiscock, Anna B Gilmore and Ann McNeill, is published in the BMJ's journal Tobacco Control.



Dr Leonie Brose discusses the misperceptions of e-cigarette use amongst smokers and ex-smokers in the UK. Read more on the King's College London News page here.

Press coverage

The Mail Online
The Sun
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