UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies to be based at Nottingham
A new million Centre of Excellence is to be established at the University of Nottingham to spearhead research into tobacco control.
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies is one of five new Centres of Excellence part-funded by Cancer Research UK to be set up and will be one of the largest research groups in the world dedicated to preventing harm from smoking.
The other four centres will be based at Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast and Cambridge and will carry out research into other public health issues, including diet and physical activity, health inequalities, and drug and alcohol abuse.
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies will be led by Professors John Britton and Ann McNeill. Professor Britton commented: "Smoking still kills more people in the UK than any other avoidable cause. Preventing smoking should be the highest priority for public health in this country, but research in this area has been sadly neglected.
"This award is a massive boost to all of the groups involved in the centre, and we look forward to starting work."
The centre will research a range of areas, including the effects of exposure to tobacco smoke before birth, smoking among adolescents, methods of smoking cessation, and approaches to reducing the harm caused by addiction.
Experts will also work with policymakers and health professionals, both within the UK and overseas, to increase awareness of the importance of tobacco control.
Professor Ian Diamond, chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), said that the centres would be "vital" for bringing together world-class experts.
The professor acknowledged that big improvements have been made in terms of health and life expectancy over the last 100 years.
"For example, the reduction in the number of adults who smoke can be attributed to research done in the 1950s which established the link between smoking and lung cancer, as well as research which led to the inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packets," he revealed.
However, Professor Diamond noted: "The UK still faces challenges to improve public health and ensure that as a society we benefit from longer and healthier lives.
"These centres underline the commitment from all of the funders to investment in high quality research with the aim of improving the health of the nation."