Research funding for addressing tobacco related disease: an analysis of UK investment between 2008 and 2012

Hall, Mary and Bogdanovica, Ilze and Britton, John (2016) Research funding for addressing tobacco related disease: an analysis of UK investment between 2008 and 2012. BMJ Open, 6 (7). e011609. ISSN 2044-6055

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Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK. However research spending on tobacco related disease, and particularly smoking prevention, is thought to be low. We therefore aimed to assess the relation between tobacco-related research investment and disease burden from 2008 to 2012.

Methods: We used the Health Research Classification System to classify UK government and charitable research funding by broad health category and then by tobacco prevention research and 18 World Health Organisation defined tobacco related diseases. We used UK mortality figures to calculate disease specific tobacco attributable deaths and then compared disease specific and tobacco prevention research investment with all cause and tobacco attributable mortality over the five year period and as annual averages.

Results: 12,922 research grants were identified with a total value of £6.69bn, an annual average of £1.34bn. Annually an average of 110,000 people die from tobacco related disease, approximately 20% of total deaths. £130m is invested in researching tobacco related disease each year and £5m on tobacco prevention, 10.8% and 0.42% of total annual research funding respectively. Prevention research equated to an annual average of £46 per tobacco attributable death or one pound for every £29 spent on tobacco related disease. Funding varied widely for diseases with different numbers of deaths (eg lung cancer £68 per all cause death, cervical cancer £2,500), similar numbers of deaths (leukaemia £983 per death, stomach cancer £43) or similar numbers of tobacco attributable deaths (eg colorectal cancer £5k, pancreatic cancer £670, bladder cancer £340).

Conclusions: Tobacco related research funding is not related to burden of disease or level of risk. As a result certain diseases receive a disproportionately low level of research funding and disease prevention funding is even lower.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Research; Funding; Priority; Setting; Prevention
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Epidemiology and Public Health
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 07:23
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 11:27

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