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18% of people with incident heart disease smoke tobacco and less than half manage to stop. Clinicians intervene actively to support cessation for a small minority, when we know that continued smoking is a matter of addiction, not choice, for most of this group. This BHF-funded doctoral proposal aims to address this by:

  1. Updating the Cochrane review of the effect of cessation on recurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in those with incident CVD, for the first time, including risk of recurrent stroke in those with incident stroke;
  2. Producing novel estimates of association of smoking with CVD recurrence, using data from a large primary care record database and incorporating novel methods to assess the causal effect of active support for cessation on recurrence; and
  3. Creating a way to reframe the management of offering smoking cessation support, to trigger doctors to view smoking as an addiction to be treated and not a matter of choice. This reframing will then be tested in online experiments to produce early evidence that we can change the way doctors treat people who smoke by providing active support for cessation. The student will work with patients with CVD who smoke to incorporate the outcomes that matter to them.

Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the studentship covers home-status fees. The studentship stipend is starts at £19,199 in the first year, £21,542 in the second, rising to £23,298 in the third year. In addition, there is generous funding for research expenses and training, with opportunity to bid for BHF funding for conference attendance.

This studentship would suit someone with or working towards a relevant masters degree (e.g. MPH, MSc in health psychology, MSc in epidemiology) and with a demonstrated interest in health behaviour research.

The student would be based with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group and become a member of Wolfson College Wolfson is a democratic and egalitarian college providing excellent accommodation, sports facilities, and opportunities for socialising. Cochrane TAG is part of the expanding Health Behaviours team, which offers a rich interdisciplinary experience, with access to training and professional development activities, such as public engagement, in a happy and scholarly environment.

Suggested supervisors:


Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the studentship covers research and training expenses, home-status fees, and a generous stipend