UCL Logo


The aim of the programme is to produce findings that increase the rate at which smokers are motivated to try to stop and succeed in doing so, with the ultimate goal of reducing the harm caused by tobacco use. There are three themes to the proposed programme which are linked to seven groups of studies. The themes are: 1) collecting timely and accurate information on the national smoking cessation picture, 2) improving understanding of the process of smoking cessation, and 3) developing and evaluating new interventions.

The seven groups of studies are:

  1. Smoking Toolkit Study (STS) A rolling programme of household surveys and associated follow-ups to provide vital national statistics on rates of attempts to stop smoking, use of aids in those attempts, triggers of those attempts, 6-month continuous abstinence rates following those attempts and contextual information such as degree of cigarette addiction. This programme will also provide a basis for drawing panels of smokers to take part in more detailed studies on the process of stopping and piloting interventions to promote and aid cessation.
  2. Analysis of existing and ongoing data sets Analyses will be undertaken from eight data sets examining a range of issues including effectiveness of nicotine nasal spray without behavioural support, patterning of quit attempts, success rates of quit attempts as a function of past quit attempts, and short- and medium-term changes in physical and mental health and healthcare utilisation after stopping smoking.
  3. The stop smoking clinic research network We have developed a collaboration with a network of 11 high quality stop smoking clinics with a combined annual throughput of more than 7000 clients as a resource for establishing best practice in smoking cessation treatment. The focus here is on implementation issues which appear to play a major role in effectiveness and reach. Comparisons will be made, for example, between behavioural support programmes undertaken according to a range of different models (e.g. rolling groups, drop-in centres, nurse clinics) and involving a range of different providers (e.g. pharmacists, practice nurses, full-time specialists).
  4. Evaluation of the nicotine cannon We have undertaken preliminary development work on a novel nicotine delivery device that offers the prospect of providing smokers wanting to stop with a means of obtaining relatively rapid nicotine intake in a form that is flexible and convenient. A series of studies is proposed to continue development of this device including a pharmacokinetic investigation and a study comparing the effect of this device versus other NRT products on ad lib smoking and on urges to smoke during abstinence.
  5. Evaluation of Tabex (cytisine) for smoking cessation The National Prevention Research Initiative is funding the running costs of a placebo-controlled randomised trial of this medication which offers the promise of an extremely low-cost treatment that could be of benefit to millions of smokers that could not afford other medications. This application seeks funding for staff time to supervise the new trial and a collaborative programme of research whose running costs will be externally funded.
  6. The process of change studies This is a series of studies involving an interview-based study, a postal survey with follow-up and a series of experimental studies to test hypotheses from the PRIME Theory of motivation, to develop and improve the theory and provide a better understanding of the process of behaviour change that can feed in the development of clinical and population-level interventions.
  7. Activating emotional processes to motivate smoking cessation Funds are being sought externally for running costs of a trial to evaluate a promising intervention that involves exposing smokers to ultrasound images of their carotid arteries.

In addition to the research studies, a major component of the programme involves specific communication activities and policy development. This includes continued guideline development, advice and support to national and international agencies involved in tobacco control and smoking cessation and undertaking major systematic reviews.

Lab Head: Professor Robert West

Emeritus Professor: Martin Jarvis

Research Staff: Sylvia May, Dr Andy McEwen, Dr Lion Shahab, Dr Jamie Brown

Postgraduate: Miriam Armstrong, Emma Beard, Belinda Iringe-Koko, Bidyut Sarkar,
        Ildiko Tombor

Statistician: Dr John Stapleton

Scientific Officer: Andrew Bryant

This page last modified 9 Oct, 2012 by Mark Livermore

University College London- Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 1720 - © 2012 UCL

Search by Google
Tobacco Group Diet and Obesity Group Cancer Screening Group