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The Importance of Professor Hartmann-Boyce

Martin Dockrell and Action on Smoking and Health explain why Professor Jamie Hartmann-Boyce’s work is so important and why she is the ideal person to carry it out

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Professor Jamie Hartmann-Boyce works with the UK Government and the Action on Smoking and Health charity to investigate the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking aid, and whether they have lower negative health impacts than smoking. Martin Dockrell and Hazel Cheeseman explain why her work is so important and why she is the ideal person to carry it out.

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce leads a team conducting the Cochrane systematic living review looking at electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.

For me, the thing that really gets me out of bed in the morning when it comes to my research is knowing that it might have an impact and improve health and wellbeing,” says Professor Hartmann-Boyce.

I work in evidence-based healthcare. That includes helping people stop smoking, on weight management, diet and physical activity, and on long-term conditions including diabetes and asthma. And I'm based at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

“In this project, we're working on the policy challenge around e-cigarettes. So, e-cigarettes are a relatively new development and they create a lot of policy challenges in terms of how to regulate them.

“On one hand, we have evidence suggesting that they're a way to help people quit smoking. We know that they're less harmful than smoking but not completely risk free.

“But at the same time, policymakers are thinking about how to make sure they're targeting that group while not encouraging uptake amongst people who don't smoke.

“We're funded by Cancer Research UK to do a living systematic review looking at e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking.

“For this policy project, we worked with the charity Action on Smoking and Health, as well as from the government, the tobacco control leads at the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities to review the evidence in a bit more detail in three particular areas when people who smoke are given e-cigarettes to help them quit.

“One was whether the flavours of e-cigarettes impact their use. The second was how long people keep using e-cigarettes, and the third was looking at what we call biomarkers of potential harm. So, changes in measures in the blood, breath and urine.”

Hazel Cheeseman, the Deputy Chief Executive for Action on Smoking and Health explained the importance of collaborating with Professor Hartmann-Boyce: “ASH is a small advocacy organisation. We have to work with talented researchers to be able to have that robust

evidence to inform policy.

Martin Dockrell is the Tobacco Control Programme Lead for The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (previously Public Health England). He added: “The great thing about Jamie is that she does great science but she does fabulous communication. When Jamie has communicated her finding, you really know what it is she's said.”

Professor Hartmann-Boyce continues: “The relationship with these policymakers is an ongoing relationship. It's been formed over years of attending the same conferences and events.”

Hazel Cheeseman explains: “We've built trust and understanding between our organisation and her and her team. We can go back and forth, and work out how best to communicate something, you know, how far does the evidence allow us to say a certain kind of thing? You have to build those relationships over time but they're so, so important in securing change. “

Martin Dockrell sums up why Jamie’s work is so important: “There aren't many researchers who can put their hand on their heart and say my study is going to save lives by the thousands but this is something that Jamie's research really can do. If we get this right, Jamie's research will help us save tens of thousands of lives every year.”

OPEN is a growing network of researchers, doctoral students and professional services staff at the University of Oxford who share a vision of public policy powered by the world’s best available research evidence and expertise -

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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