20 June 2017: High level conference on tobacco and research

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

On 20 June 2017 SFP organised a high level conference on tobacco and research, bringing together leading academics, researchers, and policy makers in research to address the gaps in tobacco control policy research in Europe, explain the need for synergistic relationships between research and policy, and discuss how partnerships in tobacco control research could be developed in Europe and other parts of the world

Brussels, 20 June 2017 – Researchers, academics and public health advocates came together at a high level debate in Brussels in highlighting the need for the EU and member states to prioritise independent, applied policy research on tobacco. The debate was organised and hosted by the Smoke Free Partnership, and followed on to a successful roundtable in October 2015 which identified gaps at country level, opportunities and barriers that facilitate tobacco control policy research between countries and research funding mechanisms, including Horizon 2020 that could support such policy research programs.

The high level conference on 20 June took one step further in examining how tobacco control policy research (or applied research) can be promoted. The EU, as a Party to the FCTC, has committed itself and therefore has a legal obligation to develop and promote tobacco control research and to coordinate research programmes at the EU level. The debate established a strong science base for tobacco-control policy and interventions in order to improve societal understanding of the effects of tobacco on health and to best direct resources towards its control.

The debate held under the patronage of Clare Moody MEP brought together leading researchers, advocates, along with national and EU research authorities. The high level speakers included: 

  • Professor Linda Bauld, Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK, and Deputy Director, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies;
  • Professor Geoffrey T. Fong, Founder and Chief Principal Investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Professor Marc Willemsen, University of Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Dr Ivan Berlin, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Sorbonne University, President of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (SRNT Europe)
  • Dr Karim Berkouk, Deputy Head of Unit, Non-Communicable Diseases and the challenge of Healthy Ageing, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Simone Korff de Gidts, European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID) (the Netherlands, Belgium)
  • Martin Dockrell, Public Health England (UK)
  • Alison Cox, Director for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK

Applied research continues to be an important part of the implementation of the FCTC as an important tool for policy-makers to have access to reliable, independent data.  The conclusions and recommendations from this workshop build on the previous workshop results and will lay the foundation for a pan-European advocacy campaign to drive the recognition of policy-research on tobacco.

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