Research and Evaluation

The work of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit includes programs in tobacco control research, research capacity building, comprehensive tobacco control evaluation and monitoring, and knowledge transfer and exchange.

Our research and evaluation activities produce evidence-based knowledge that contributes to the development of effective and efficient program and policy initiatives for tobacco control in Ontario and elsewhere.

Cessation Projects

Current cessation work includes evaluations of quit smoking initiatives in a variety of settings including the workplace and health care settings, further analysis of data from OTRU’s Ontario Tobacco Survey, a multi component study of electronic cigarettes including their use as a cessation aid, research on tobacco reduction in aboriginal communities, ongoing development of a smokers’ panel that provides a platform for studies on cessation pathways, factors related to relapse, and intervention outcomes, and studies reaching across the three pillars of tobacco control that model the impact of policy and program measures. Read more…

Prevention Projects

Prevention projects investigate the prevalence and predictors of tobacco use and other health risk behaviours among young people during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, the impact of social exposure on youth perspectives about smoking and smoking behavior, and the influence of social networks on the smoking behavior of youth.

The OTRU study of electronic cigarettes also includes an examination of the role of e-cigarettes as a “gateway” to uptake of traditional cigarettes. A project is also underway to examine gaps in knowledge about effective interventions to reduce the uptake and use of tobacco in Aboriginal communities in Ontario. Read more…

Protection Projects

Protection projects include an exploratory study of the physical and social exposure to smoking by adolescents and their impact on behaviour, a literature synthesis of the health effects of exposure to second smoke in outdoor settings and the impacts of outdoor smoking bans, a review of the evidence related to thirdhand smoke, and studies looking at exposure and policies in home environments. Read more…

Strategy Monitoring

OTRU’s evaluation projects assess the contributions of individual Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy interventions to the overall Strategy goals. Evaluative information about the activities and results of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy are presented in our annual Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy Monitoring Report. This report describes Strategy infrastructure and interventions (policies, programs and social marketing), analyzes population-level changes, and explores the contributions of interventions. OTRU also undertakes studies reaching across the three pillars of tobacco control that model the impact of policy and program measures.

Individual evaluation studies are described under the Cessation, Prevention and Protection sections of the site.  Read more…

Knowledge Needs and Evaluation Support Project

OTRU’ s Knowledge Needs and Evaluation Support project responds to the knowledge needs, evaluation and research requests from Ontario’s Public Health Units (PHUs), Tobacco Control Area Networks (TCANs), and other tobacco Transfer Payment Agencies (TPAs) across the three pillars of tobacco control. Read more…

Ontario Tobacco Survey

The Ontario Tobacco Survey (OTS) is a population-based longitudinal survey of smokers and a cross-sectional survey of non-smokers in Ontario. It is a core, multi-year project of OTRU. Data from the survey provide a better understanding of the processes of, and influences on, smoking cessation and relapse, monitor trends in tobacco-related knowledge and exposures for both smokers and non-smokers, and evaluate and inform the impact of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy. Read more…

Population Research Initiative on Mental Health and Addictions (PRIMHA)

The Population Research Initiative on Mental Health and Addictions (PRIMHA) is committed to reducing the burden of co-occurring mental health and addiction issues linked with tobacco. A population health-based approach focuses on the prevalence and correlates of tobacco use co-morbidities and co-use of other substances such as alcohol, and cannabis, and co-occurring mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Read more…