Tool examines the cost effectiveness and impact of anti-smoking initiatives

February 20, 2014
Tool examines the cost effectiveness and impact of anti-smoking initiatives

The development of a tool that will help government officials, policy makers and healthcare providers across Europe examine the cost effectiveness and impact of anti-smoking initiatives is set to become the subject of a major new study.

Headed by an expert from Kingston University and St George's, University of London, the investigation will scrutinise the way stakeholders are involved throughout the research process and compare their responses with those in other countries across the continent.

The academics are set to track the implementation of a mechanism devised by a consortium led by Brunel University's Health Economics Research Group (HERG) that gauges the initial financial outlay needed to put smoking prevention measures in place before projecting how much money they stand to save the local economy and wider healthcare sector in the longer term. Known as EQUIPT, the tool will be developed as part of a €2 million European Commission grant. An earlier version has already been used by local authorities around the United Kingdom, allowing them to draw on specific circumstances, statistics and data to predict the impact of tobacco control in their particular regions.

The new three-year study has been awarded £157,000 from the Medical Research Council as part of funding earmarked to boost understanding of the impact of health-related studies on society and the economy. Called SEE-IMPACT, it will be led by Dr Annette Boaz, a widely respected expert in the use of evidence in policy making who is based at Kingston and St George's Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. The announcement means the researchers will be able to compare and contrast the way the decision support tool is taken up in a further six European countries - Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain.

Dr Boaz will work with the Brunel University experts who devised the tool to observe the way stakeholders engage with it as it is being implemented, closely monitoring the effectiveness of communication and other activity associated with its roll out. "We're all very familiar with the way findings or recommendations are reported at the end of a research project and the increasing emphasis on such studies making an impact, but it's still relatively rare for research to be done actually exploring how that plays out in the real world," Dr Boaz explained. "Taking stock of how interested, motivated and involved key partners, health professionals and even lobbyists are in the process will give us a much better feel for how research can be used to underpin and influence policy."

The researchers will observe events, conduct surveys, undertake a series of interviews and analyse a number of documents during the course of the study. "For many years, researchers have been working intuitively with stakeholders, but there is still only a very small body of evidence to support this which is why this project will be so important," Dr Boaz said. "We want to really explore the characteristics of what prompts people to connect with research and how they respond to dissemination and communication. People in the business of education and sharing learning sometimes lose sight of the human element involved in all of that."

A particularly interesting dimension of the project would be the different perceptions and attitudes to tobacco control in the countries involved in the study, she added. "We will be working with stakeholders from some very well-established European countries and others with more emerging economies - all with different legislation and outlooks on dealing with and the potential health implications of smoking," Dr Boaz said.

Experts estimate the economic cost of tobacco smoking in Europe is between €98 and €130 billion each year - just over 1 per cent of the European Union's gross domestic product. Despite a decrease in the number of tobacco smokers over the past three decades, smoking still kills about 700,000 people each year across the continent. Officials believe it affects the health and well-being of three in 10 adults, with a similar number of children starting to smoke before the age of 18.

Dr Subhash Pokhrel, who has led the development of the decision-making tool at Brunel University, said the stakeholder study was particularly timely given the increasing emphasis being placed on public healthcare intervention funding both in the United Kingdom and abroad. "The value of our project has been increased by austerity measures right across the European Union and it has been developed in that context," he said. "Observing stakeholder engagement as it happens rather than reviewing it retrospectively will lead to a greater ability to enhance the level and speed of research impact in the future."

Explore further: New anti-smoking policies in China could save nearly 13 million lives in next 40 years

Related Stories

New anti-smoking policies in China could save nearly 13 million lives in next 40 years

February 18, 2014
Almost 13 million lives could be saved by 2050 in China if the country implements comprehensive tobacco control recommendations set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO).

New guides developed to help communities address tobacco issues

February 11, 2014
In January of 1964, the surgeon general released the first "Report on Smoking and Health," a landmark report that linked tobacco smoke to heart disease and lung cancer and laid the foundation for tobacco-control efforts in ...

Tobacco control policies stop people from smoking and save lives

June 30, 2013
Tobacco control measures put in place in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent some 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization today.

Graphic warning labels on cigarette packs could lead to 8.6 million fewer smokers in US‏‏‏

November 25, 2013
A research paper published in the scientific journal Tobacco Control, "Cigarette graphic warning labels and smoking prevalence in Canada: a critical examination and reformulation of the FDA regulatory impact analysis", shows ...

Can applying messages to cigarettes dissuade us from smoking?

December 23, 2013
Two academics from Bangor University's renowned Business School have been applying their knowledge of marketing and managerial studies to investigate a new medium for getting the no-smoking message across- the cigarette itself.

EU set to regulate e-cigarettes, discourage smoking

December 18, 2013
European Union states and lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to regulate the booming e-cigarette market and discourage smoking by increasing the size of health warnings on packets.

Recommended for you

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017
A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.