Department for Health

Tobacco Control Research Group

The Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG), directed by Prof Anna Gilmore, is an internationally renowned multidisciplinary research team combining diverse academic staff and investigative journalists. It brings in-depth knowledge of all aspects of TI behaviour and skills in the diverse methodologies relevant to this project including investigative research, digital methods and documentary analysis.

People

  • Prof Anna Gilmore - Director
  • Andy Rowell - Bribery and TobaccoTactics Senior Editor
  • Dr Karen Evans-Reeves - Big data and TobaccoTactics Senior Editor
  • Dr Jenny Hatchard - Corporate political activity
  • Dr Jo Cranwell - Tobacco and alcohol industry marketing
  • Dr Rosemary Hiscock - Price, tax and inequalities
  • Silvy Peeters - Harm reduction and TobaccoTactics Editor
  • Allen Gallagher (PhD Student) - Illicit trade
  • Tess Legg (PhD Student) - Corporate influence on science
  • Cathy Flower - Research Group Administrator

Partners

At the University of Bath, the TCRG work alongside colleagues from the Centre of Governance, Regulation, and Industrial Strategy (CGR&IS) (Rob Branston) and the Centre for Development Studies (James Copestake, Michael Bloomfield). Our group is part of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), a UK Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. We also work with leading UK, European and international academic and advocacy partners.

Tobacco Industry Monitoring

Having been at the forefront of Tobacco Industry (TI) research since its inception, in 2011, the TCRG established the first comprehensive model of ‘TI Monitoring Research & Accountability (TIMRA)’ based around the ground-breaking database, TobaccoTactics. The site contains 777 profiles of individuals and organisations with TI links and summarises key TI arguments and tactics. Use of TobaccoTactics is global and has risen exponentially to reach 13.5 million page views per year with daily page views peaking at 60,000. Detailed feedback indicates that civil servants, politicians, journalists and NGOs use and trust its evidence-based and balanced content. As such, it is a world-leading resource for research and information on the TI and its interference in tobacco control policymaking.

Tobacco Industry Research

Through its active research programme, the multidisciplinary TCRG:

  • Monitors and investigates corporate influence on health behaviours, health outcomes and policy, helping expand understandings of the corporation as a determinant of health.
  • Evaluates public health policies aimed at regulating tobacco affordability, marketing and content and supporting smoking cessation.
  • Critically examines tobacco industry claims of interest in harm reduction, whilst continuously monitoring new developments in tobacco products and packaging.

Publications

The TCRG has published more than 170 high quality publications since its establishment in 2011. A full list can be found here: TCRG Publications

Impact

The TCRG has a significant track record in using its research to secure policy impacts on health and economic policy:

  • Our work on plain packaging policy in the UK was relied on in impact assessments, evidence reviews and in the High Court.
  • Our collaborative work in Africa has led, in part, to a formal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into bribery and corruption by BAT – the first time this has happened against a tobacco company.
  • The success of our tobacco industry monitoring, research and publishing model, evidence that tobacco industry research has directly enabled progress in tobacco control and the gap in tobacco industry research in low and middle income countries prompted the FCTC Secretariat to establish three University based ‘Tobacco Industry Observatories’ based on the TCRG’s model.
  • Our two new studies published in the BMJ journal Tobacco Control, expose evidence that big tobacco companies are still facilitating tobacco smuggling, while attempting to control a global system designed to prevent it and funding studies that routinely overestimate levels of tobacco smuggling. Read the full story and access the studies.

Recognition

International recognition of the TCRG’s unique and highly valuable contribution to tobacco control is indicated via awards for research and impact, membership of numerous expert groups, and the FCTC Secretariat’s decision to establish a series of TI monitoring Observatories based on the TCRG’s model.

Examples of awards include:

  • International Award for Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Documents, Anna Gilmore, Public Health Advocacy Institute, 2009
  • World No Tobacco Day Medal, Anna Gilmore, World Health Organization, 2008
  • Early-Career Research Award, Karen Evans-Reeves, Public Health Science Conference, 2016
  • Research Travel Award, Karen Evans-Reeves, Cancer Research UK, 2014
  • Early Career Researcher Award, Emily Savell, Population Health - methods and challenges, 2012
  • Young Investigator Award, Silvy Peeters, World Conference on Tobacco or Health, 2012

Funding

Our research is funded by a number of organisations including the Medical Research Council, Government bodies and Charities. View our current grants.

In the summer of 2018, in collaboration with international partners, our group has been awarded major funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies to lead a brand new global tobacco industry watchdog called Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products, or STOP.

Contact Us

For any enquiries about our group please email: tobacco-admin@bath.ac.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @BathTR and visit our knowledge exchange wiki TobaccoTactics

Research themes