OTRU Logo


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 various quit smoking initiatives in a variety of settings including the workplace and health care settings, a study of effectiveness and cost effectiveness of cessation services, an examination of the use of the existing cessation system in Ontario, an assessment of current government incentives and regulatory policies related to health insurance coverage for cessation treatment, work to better capture tobacco related information in electronic health records, and creation of a smokers’ panel that will provide a platform for studies on cessation pathways, factors related to relapse, and intervention outcomes. Read more…

Prevention Projects

Prevention projects investigate trends and use of contraband products, the effect of pricing on the brand preferences of young people, new approaches to youth access policy compliance, the influence of student and school level characteristics on student tobacco use behaviour, predictors of tobacco use comorbilities among young adults, the factors related to the retail environment that influence health outcomes and options for reducing tobacco retail outlet density. 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, an observation study of waterpipe use, a literature synthesis of the health effects of exposure to second smoke in outdoor settings and the impacts of outdoor smoking bans. Read more…

Strategy Evaluation

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 Strategy Evaluation Report. This report describes Strategy infrastructure and interventions (policies, programs and social marketing), analyzes population-level changes, and explores the contributions of interventions. This year we are also undertaking a survey of public health unit tobacco control activity to inform our strategy evaluation and for SFO planning purposes.

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

Smoke-Free Ontario Partner Research & Evaluation Support

OTRU responds to the knowledge needs and research/evaluation requests from Ontario’s Transfer Payment Agencies (TPAs; e.g., Public Health Units, the seven Tobacco Control Area Networks [TCANs]), community partners, and other stakeholders working on tobacco-related projects through our Research and Evaluation Support for Implementation of New Strategy Components project. 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…

The Food Policy Research Initiative (FPRI)

The Food Policy Research Initiative aims to improve public health through research on innovative and effective policy solutions to contemporary food issues. Read more…