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To reduce smoking in populations, a comprehensive strategy involving a number of different tobacco control policies is required. We are carrying out research to inform the development and implementation of such policies and evaluate their impact once implemented. 

International Policy 

International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project)  

The ITC Project was the first-ever international cohort study of tobacco use and provides a systematic evaluation of tobacco control policies (particularly those in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control). The ITC Project involves over 100 collaborators worldwide and conducts cohort surveys in more than 25 countries.  

Professor Ann McNeill (a founding member since 2001) and Dr Sara Hitchman (joined 2006) lead the UK research, and have published 63 papers from the ITC Project. In 2016, we helped secure two prestigious grants to allow our involvement in the ITC Project to continue for the next five years, these include a US NIH grant to fund research in England, Canada, and the US, and an EU Horizon 2020 grant (EUREST PLUS)  to fund research in seven EU countries, including Hungary and Romania.  

These new grants will focus mainly on the relationship between electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes and the impact of policies on the use of each product and quitting behaviours. Youth surveys in England, Canada and the US are also included, and Dr Sara Hitchman recently won an award in order to evaluate different electronic cigarette policies between Scotland and England. PhD and MSc students may also utilise the data. 

Cochrane review on tobacco standardized packaging 

Professor Ann McNeill and Dr Sara Hitchman recently led and published a Cochrane review to assess the impact of tobacco standardized packaging on smoking attitudes and behaviour. 

National Policy 

Adult Tobacco Policy Survey 

The Adult Tobacco Policy Survey is a longitudinal web-based survey funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF). It evaluates the impact of standardised packaging among smokers and recent ex-smokers in the UK. Professor Ann McNeill and Dr Sara Hitchman work in close collaboration on this project with Crawford Moodie and Ann Marie MacKintosh from Stirling University. 

Impact of tobacco price and taxation 

Professor Ann McNeill leads an NIHR Public Health Research project using International Tobacco Control (ITC), Nielsen, and Smokers’ Toolkit (University College London, UCL) data to explore the impact of tobacco industry strategies and price policies on tobacco use. This research, in conjunction with Dr Sara Hitchman and Dr Timea Partos (member of the Nicotine Research Group from April 2015-June 2019), is carried out in collaboration with the University of Bath. 

A review of smokeless tobacco in the UK - products, populations and policy 
The review of smokeless tobacco in the UK was funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and was conducted by a group of researchers from various UK universities and government bodies with expertise in the fields of tobacco use and harm reduction research. The review, which provided local, national and international recommendations, included: 

  • An evaluation of legislation applying to smokeless tobacco in the UK 
  • Two systematic literature reviews on the health effects and prevalence of use of smokeless tobacco products 
  • Important informant interviews with smoking cessation advisors, managers and stakeholders 

Read the full report

Local Policy 

Strategy development and implementation 

We have helped King's Health Partners (KHP) to develop its tobacco control strategy, led the implementation of a smoke-free policy on our university site, supported smoke-free policy implementation in our mental health trust and have developed an integrated local tobacco treatment strategy for the local area. We also support our partners, in particular, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Public Health England (PHE) to implement effective tobacco control strategies.