2023 Annual SRNT-E Conference

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Keynote Speakers

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Using evidence synthesis to combat tobacco addiction: the work of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group

Dr. Nicola Lindson

University of Oxford (UK)

Dr. Nicola Lindson is a senior researcher based within the Oxford Tobacco Addiction Group (OxTAG) within the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, UK. She has been involved in smoking cessation research since 2008, when she started her PhD as part of the newly formed UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS). Nicola conducted her first Cochrane Review more than 13 years ago and has been a Managing Editor of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group since 2015. She is the co-lead of the Cochrane living systematic review of ‘Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation’, and is involved in a variety of tobacco-related research topics, including smoking reduction, pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation, and improving smoking cessation support for people in lower socioeconomic groups to reduce health inequalities.

Keynote abstract

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (CTAG) was launched at the University of Oxford in 1996, as one of the first Cochrane Review Groups. For the last 27 years CTAG has been producing systematic reviews of the tobacco control evidence with the aims to 1) inform tobacco control policy internationally; 2) inform tobacco control research, ensuring it is focused on important unanswered questions; and 3) contribute to reducing tobacco use. This keynote will detail how we have achieved this through an overview of CTAG’s work. This will include case studies of some of our most influential reviews, including one of the first ever Cochrane Reviews (on NRT for smoking cessation) and more recent reviews using novel methodologies, such as living evidence synthesis and component network meta-analysis. There will also be reflection on what is needed to strengthen the evidence base on e-cigarettes and the future of evidence synthesis in tobacco control.

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Evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence? Research on product transitions in a changing nicotine market and the challenges of handing over findings to regulators who actually want different results.

Dr. Karl E. Lund

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Dr. Karl E. Lund is currently senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health after serving as Research Director at the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research for the period 2006-2018. He has been involved in tobacco control work since the mid-1980s, working at the Norwegian Council on Tobacco or Health (Deputy Leader), the Norwegian Cancer Society (Director Department of Cancer Prevention) and the University of Oslo. In 2000 dr. Lund received the Norwegian Medical Association’s Award in preventive medicine. Dr. Lund holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from 1996 and he was formally assessed with qualifications as Professor in 2009.

Dr. Lund has been a member of several expert committees including WHO’s International Agency for Cancer Research, he was a founding member of the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases and is currently vice president in The International Association on Smoking Control & Harm Reduction. He has been Associate Editor in Nicotine & Tobacco Research since 2011. Dr. Lund chaired the organizing committee for the 19th European SRNT-conference and co-chaired the scientific committee. He co-chaired the Scientific Program Committee of the National French Cancer Research Institute E-cigarette Conference in Paris, 2022.

Dr. Lund has been an expert witness for the plaintiff in several tort liability lawsuits against the tobacco industry including one brought before the Norwegian Supreme Court. He has given expert witness statements in additional court cases, including one before the UK High Court of Justice and one in the European Court of Justice. He has received grants from the Research Council of Norway, from the Norwegian Cancer Society and from diverse National governmental funding sources.

Keynote abstract

For us in Scandinavia, much of the current international debate on e-cigarettes about gateway-/diversion effects, role in smoking cessation, dual use, health effects from long-term use etc., appear as a remake of a movie on old snus controversies. But now - in contrast to the situation for vaping - the snus marked is mature, usage patterns have settled, and health-effects are epidemiologically verified. From being totally dominated by cigarettes just two decades ago, most of the tobacco in Norway is now sold as snus and smoking initiation among youth is negligible. The first part of the lecture will show the underlying mechanisms for this market shift. However, when countries reach an advanced phase in the cigarette epidemic, the goal of tobacco policy often changes in the direction of eradicating all recreational nicotine use - including products that have contributed to smoking being in an end-game phase. The lecture will finally address the challenges the authorities face in their effort to justify a policy goal of a nicotine-free society.

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The value of regular surveillance and evaluation in a changing tobacco control landscape: Insights from 17 years of monthly national surveys in England 2006-2023

Prof. Jamie Brown

University College London

Professor Jamie Brown is Director of the UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group and leads a CRUK programme of research to i) provide insights from the Smoking Toolkit Study into population-wide influences on smoking and cessation and ii) advance the scientific foundation, and further the development of, potentially wide-reach digital behaviour change technologies. In over 250 publications, a particular focus has been on real-world monitoring and evaluation of national tobacco and alcohol policies and events. He is a co-author of Theory of Addiction (second edition) and ABC of Behaviour Change Theories, co-Regional Editor at the journal Addiction and an Editor of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group.

Keynote abstract

My talk will introduce the Smoking Toolkit Study (STS) - which has involved monthly surveys of smoking and quitting behaviours with representative samples of the adult population in England since 2006 - and aims to illustrate the value of establishing frequent and rapid national surveillance. I will make the case for three key advantages by example. The first is to show how the STS has enabled rapid evaluation and policy impact, by considering our evaluation of the mass media campaign Stoptober. The second is to demonstrate how the STS has provided us with early insights into fast-emerging and evolving phenomena – most notably e-cigarettes over the last 10 years, and I will have a focus on recent developments in the use of new disposable devices. Finally, I will show how the study enables different approaches to the real-world evaluation of cessation treatments, and how we used these, together with RCT evidence, to triangulate on estimates for the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation in England.

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Health effects of new nicotine and tobacco products: what can we learn from their attractive, addictive and toxic properties and will we ever be able to predict their long-term impact on population level?

Dr. Reinskje Talhout

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands

Dr. Reinskje Talhout is a senior scientific advisor/expert in tobacco product regulatory science at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands. She is also head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Product Regulation and Control at the RIVM. She has published over 110 peer-reviewed articles, reports, and book chapters on the attractive, addictive and toxic properties of tobacco and related products. Areas of interest include chemistry, behavioral studies, sensory science, risk communication and risk assessment. As a policy advisor for tobacco product regulation, she provides advice to the national government, to the EU, and to WHO. She participated in various collaborative European projects, such as currently the Joint Action Tobacco Control. She received her PhD in Physical organic chemistry in 2003 from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. She also has a Master’s degree in the philosophy of science.

Keynote abstract

Tobacco products are attractive by design, which stimulates the initiation of tobacco product use, especially for young people. They are also addictive, which stimulates the continuation of use. Tobacco products are highly toxic and smoking remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, even in countries with extensive tobacco control measures. Furthermore, the tobacco products market is highly dynamic. On a regular basis, new nicotine and tobacco products are introduced on the consumer market which need to be scientifically assessed to inform policy making, regulation and public communication. However, when such products appear on the market, little is known on their product composition, attractive, additive, and toxic properties. Thus, it is difficult to assess their potential health effects and predict their uptake and user groups. This keynote will discuss issues in evaluating new products using three cases: e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and nicotine pouches.

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Conference Programme

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On Monday, 11. September, we will start the day with pre-conference workshops before the start of the main programme at lunch time.

Tuesday, 12. September, will be a full day of excellent symposia, talks and posters.

On Wednesday, 13 September, we will have another full day of the latest developments in nicotine and tobacco research, finishing at 16:00 after the closing ceremony and poster prizes.

Please click on the below link to download the conference programme and the poster presentations.

Conference opening debate and pre-conference workshops

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On Monday, we will open the conference with a stimulating debate.

From all the propositions submitted in response to our call, the following was chosen:

"Is nicotine use rational?"

We have for you a great panel of experts who will discuss this proposition:  

  • Dr Wayne Hall, Emeritus Professor, National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research, The University of Queensland 
  • Dr Lynne Dawkins, Professor of Nicotine and Tobacco Studies, Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, London South Bank University 
  • Dr Yael Bar-Zeev, Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem -Hadassah Medical Center
  • Dr Lion Shahab, Professor of Health Psychology, Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London.

On Monday, there are two pre-conference workshops.

Pre-conference workshop 1: Meet the editor of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, with Marcus Munafo

Pre-conference workshop 2: The Addiction Ontology and how to use it when designing, reporting and using studies

Speakers: Robert West, Sharon Cox, Caitlin Notley, Kirstie Soar

Background: The field of nicotine and tobacco research needs more clarity, consistency, and coherence in the usage of terms and constructs. 'Ontologies' are computer-readable ways of achieving this. They are a way of representing knowledge whose use is growing rapidly in science, engineering, and commerce and underpin artificial intelligence programmes to improve the efficiency of science. The 'Addiction Ontology' (AddictO) and a key part of this, the 'E-Cig Ontology' (E-CigO), together with the Behaviour Change Intervention Ontology (BCIO) have been under development for several years and are now sufficiently evolved to be able to be used in research, policy, and practice.

Aims: To provide participants with guided hands-on experience in using AddictO/ECigO when designing, reporting, and using studies, and to build a community of practice that can help evolve these ontologies over time.

Content: The workshop will begin with a recap on why the field needs to embrace ontologies as a matter of routine, giving examples of the huge wasted effort and resource that arises from a lack of clarity in the way that key constructs are defined and labelled. It will then introduce participants to the ontologies, including their scope and structure, including tobacco and nicotine use behaviours and products as well as details of factors influencing behaviours such as aspects of identity, motivation, and addiction. It will then introduce the online tools that have been developed to visualise, search and explore these ontologies for constructs that one wishes to include in protocols reports, and interventions. It will then guide participants through exercises to help them become proficient in easily referencing ontology entities in their papers using bibliographic tools such as Zotero and Endnote. Finally, it will include a discussion about next steps and how to get involved in a community of practice to further develop these ontologies