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The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) are surveying researchers, health professionals and the public to identify the unanswered questions about the prevention and treatment of tobacco addiction.

Clinical guidance and public health policy around smoking has moved on considerably and Cochrane TAG reviews have undoubtedly played a role in that.
- Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley, Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group.

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It’s been 20 years since the Cochrane TAG started commissioning and publishing systematic reviews on the effectiveness of interventions and policies to control tobacco addiction. With over 70 published reviews by 300 authors, the group has made a valuable contribution to the evidence-base, informing treatment and public policies to reduce the prevalence of smoking nationally and internationally.

However, much has changed since 1996 - new interventions have entered the market place and vaping and e-cigarettes have become popular substitutes for traditional cigarettes. While the group’s reviews continue to hit the headlines, their 20th Anniversary provides an ideal opportunity to take stock, reflect and plan ahead.

Cochrane TAG’s “Twentieth Anniversary Priority Setting” (taps) project seeks the views of researchers, health professionals, policy makers, smokers and ex-smokers to determine tobacco research priorities for the next few years - not just for Cochrane TAG, but for the whole research community, and will be published in a reputable journal to help inform future research funding. 

A 2-stage online survey, launched this week, is seeking the unanswered questions that are yet to be fully addressed by tobacco addiction researchers.

Following the survey, a one-day workshop in Oxford on 17 June will celebrate the achievements of the group so far and discuss the questions identified in the public survey, to narrow them down into a series of priorities specific to Cochrane TAG.

Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley, Managing Editor for Cochrane TAG, which is based in the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, commented:

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to reflect on some of the successes of the group over the past 20 years. Clinical guidance and public health policy around smoking has moved on considerably and Cochrane TAG reviews have undoubtedly played a role in that.

However, it is important that high-quality evidence on tobacco addiction interventions continue to be cutting-edge, relevant to the needs of society, and remain a reliable source of information for policy makers. So we’re inviting guideline developers, policy makers, clinicians and associated health professionals, smokers and former smokers, and researchers to feed into our stakeholder consultation exercise to determine the focus of Cochrane’s tobacco addiction systematic reviews in the future.”

The Cochrane TAG taps project has received funding from the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research.

Find out more about the project:

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Further information:

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) are based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. Established in 1996, their aim is to prepare and maintain systematic reviews of interventions relevant to tobacco control. The membership and target audience for TAG's reviews include policy makers, health care professionals and consumers.

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group is part of Cochrane, an independent, international not-for-profit consortium dedicated to providing up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the largest single funder of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group and provides core funding for the Editorial Base. 


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Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of Oxford University. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.