Tobacco Control Research


Tobacco use is still the single most important cause of premature mortality and morbidity in Western countries. Smoking is an important determinant of chronic lung disease, cancer, and coronary heart disease. Life expectancy of smokers is 7-10 years lower compared to non-smokers, and about half of persistent smokers are killed by it, a quarter still in middle age. In addition, exposure to second hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease among non-smokers.


Smoking rates declined from the seventies until the beginning of the eighties of the previous century. However, in the last 20 years the rate of decline is rather slow. Smoking control in the Netherlands consistently lacks behind many other countries. Research is needed to improve the effectiveness of tobacco control strategies.


Tobacco Control as a scientific discipline studies the effects of tobacco control strategies on tobacco use. An important characteristic of tobacco control research is the systematic development of effective interventions, based on three elements:

1 An analysis of psychological determinants of changes in smoking behaviour. This analysis needs to be done separately for subgroups in the population that have different behavioural  patterns. Important differences are by age, social-economic status, and ethnicity. Based on the outcomes of analyses of determinants, interventions can be recommended that can be educational, therapeutic or regulative.

2. Studying the effectiveness of new or existing interventions, preferably by applying randomized research designs.

3. Assessment of the public health impact of efficacious interventions. To what extent and how do various interventions contribute to reductions in national smoking prevalence?


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