The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group’s 20th anniversary priority setting project report.

Cochrane TAG anniversary Twitter banner
The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) conducts and facilitates systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the research evidence for tobacco cessation and prevention interventions. The group was founded in 1996 and in 2016 they conducted a stakeholder engagement project to celebrate the 20th anniversary of TAG and to identify future research priorities for the group and the wider tobacco control community.

The objective of the project was to:

  • Raise awareness of Cochrane TAG and what has been achieved so far.
  • Identify areas where further research is needed in the areas of tobacco control and smoking cessation.
  • Identify specific goals for Cochrane TAG
  • To explore novel ways to disseminate the findings of tobacco research, and Cochrane TAG’s findings.

The survey and workshop resulted in 183 unanswered research questions in the areas of tobacco, quitting smoking and eight priority research areas, including:

  • ‘addressing inequalities’
  • ‘treatment delivery’
  • electronic cigarettes’
  • ‘initiating quit attempts’
  • ‘young people’
  • ‘mental health and substance abuse’
  • ‘population-level interventions’
  • ‘pregnancy’


Stakeholders who attended the workshop also discussed ways that the public health community and Cochrane TAG could act to move the field of tobacco control forward.

Through this report, Cochrane TAG want to share the identified unanswered questions with the wider tobacco research community to help them to decide the most important research to focus on in the future, and to decide the most important things to work on for Cochrane TAG.

This will involve updating existing reviews, beginning reviews on new topics, and looking in more detail at Cochrane TAG’s research methods.

Contrary to popular belief there are still many important unanswered questions in the field of tobacco control. In addition, it has been noted that many of the results of tobacco control questions are not always reaching their intended targets. Tobacco control stakeholders provide a rich source of information on how these uncertainties should be prioritised; by using this resource the likelihood that the findings of research are useful and will be implemented is much greater. The project was carried out with the hope that researchers and research funders will be able to use the priorities identified to inform their future practice, in the same way that Cochrane TAG are using them to inform new review topics, updates of reviews and methods development.

Cochrane TAG’s findings and implementation suggestions should be considered alongside the existing evidence base and clinical expertise.

Here is the full report of the CTAG taps project!
You can open the report and the appendices by clicking on the covers below:

Discussing the future of tobacco addiction research with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group:

The CTAG taps project ran from January-December 2016. Activities carried out from April 2016-December 2016 were funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR)

Promoting Evidence Based Practice at UKNSCC 2015 by Nicola Lindson-Hawley

Nicola Lindson-Hawley – Managing Editor for the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, University of Oxford

Earlier this month (11th – 12th June) I attended the UK Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Conference (UKNSCC) 2015 in Manchester to promote the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Review Group (TAG). The Cochrane TAG team support authors to identify relevant clinical trial evidence to answer research questions regarding the efficacy of smoking prevention and cessation interventions, and synthesise this into a literature review, and meta-analysis if possible. So far the group have over 70 reviews, which can be found here: Many of the attendees at UKNSCC are smoking cessation service providers and counselors who are one of the key audiences for these reviews, so that they can use the findings to support their clinical practice and ensure that they are using the most efficacious evidence based methods. Conference attendees visiting the Cochrane stand were able to take away two page summaries of five of our reviews on pharmacological treatments, combination behavioral and pharmacological support, the prevention of weight gain after stopping smoking, reduction versus abrupt quitting and electronic cigarettes.

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Whilst at the conference I also attended lots of interesting sessions and there were plenaries by UKCTAS members Robert West, Linda Bauld and Andy McEwan.  There was (perhaps non-surprisingly) a large emphasis on electronic cigarettes at the conference and it was great to get the perspective of an avid vaper- Lorien Jollye- in the session ‘What we’ve learnt from service users who vape’.   Another highlight was hearing Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) discussing their very recently published report, ‘Smoking Still Kills’. The aim of the report is to keep tobacco issues high on the public health agenda. Deborah reported that on the day the report was published (10/06/2015) shares in tobacco companies fell. Now, that’s impact! One of the key proposals made is that tobacco companies should be made to pay a levy on all their profits to contribute to the cost of the harm caused by their industry. Click here for more information.

UKNSCC provided a great opportunity to get the findings of our reviews out there to the people who matter most- those actually implementing the interventions we investigate- whilst also giving me the time to get up to date with what is going on in the practical world of smoking cessation support.

If you’d like a copy of any of the summaries we created for UKNSCC 2015 please email me at, and for more information about Cochrane TAG and our reviews keep up to date on Twitter @CochraneTAG.