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Developing and evaluating an e-cigarette cessation intervention

   Faculty of Medicine and Health Science

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  Dr Felix Naughton  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project: E-cigarettes are effective for helping people to stop smoking tobacco and consequently UK public health guidance promotes their use for tobacco cessation. A substantial minority of people who stop using tobacco by using e-cigarettes continue to use e-cigarettes long term. Some evidence indicates that long term use of e-cigarettes may increase users’ risk of relapsing back to tobacco, compared to people who do not use e-cigarettes long term, but this is not yet clear. Studies have also shown that most ex-smokers who use e-cigarettes would like to stop. Project aims are: (1) review the literature to identify the risk of relapse back to tobacco among ex-smokers who use e-cigarettes long term and identify predictors of relapse; (2) investigate user experiences of long-term vaping, including relapse back to tobacco and attempts to stop using e-cigarettes, and explore e-cigarette cessation support preferences; (3) develop an e-cigarette cessation intervention, potentially using digital messaging (e.g. text messages) to deliver support, and evaluate its feasibility and acceptability in a mixed methods evaluation study. The project would provide the opportunity to undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis, a qualitative interview study, develop a behaviour change intervention and undertake a mixed methods evaluation study.  

Training programme: Evidence synthesis, qualitative methods and analysis, mixed methods, statistical analysis including meta-analysis, intervention development and evaluation, writing for publication, thesis preparation, dissemination, and personal and professional development. 

Outputs: Thesis, publications, presentations, evidence to inform practice, potential future evaluation study. 

We are seeking a student with a good first degree (at least 2:1) and preferably a Masters in a related topic area (e.g., health psychology, public health, social science, research methods) or equivalent research experience. The student will have an interest in behaviour change, relevant research methods and data analysis, and will be committed and self-directed. 

Funding Notes

This PhD project is a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. The studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK tuition fees, an annual stipend of £15,609 (2021/22 rate) and £1,000 per annum to support research training. International applicants (including EU) may apply but are required to fund the difference between UK and International tuition fees (details of tuition fees can be found on our website


i) Hartmann-Boyce J, McRobbie H, Butler AR, Lindson N, Bullen C, Begh R, Theodoulou A, Notley C, Rigotti NA, Turner T, Fanshawe TR, Hajek P. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;9(9):CD010216. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub6.
ii) Dai H, Leventhal AM. Association of electronic cigarette vaping and subsequent smoking relapse among former smokers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019;199:10-17. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.01.043.
iii) Jahnel T, Ferguson SG, Partos T, Brose LS. Socioeconomic differences in the motivation to stop using e-cigarettes and attempts to do so. Addict Behav Rep. 2020;11:100247. doi: 10.1016/j.abrep.2020.100247.
iv) Naughton F, Jamison J, Boase S, Sloan M, Gilbert H, Prevost AT, Mason D, Smith S, Brimicombe J, Evans R, Sutton S. Randomized controlled trial to assess the short-term effectiveness of tailored web- and text-based facilitation of smoking cessation in primary care (iQuit in practice). Addiction. 2014;109(7):1184-93. doi: 10.1111/add.12556.
v) Graham AL, Amato MS, Cha S, Jacobs MA, Bottcher MM, Papandonatos GD. Effectiveness of a Vaping Cessation Text Message Program Among Young Adult e-Cigarette Users: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(7):923-930. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.1793.
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