PHRC Phase 2 (2011-2019) projects – Projects related to smoking

The Development of Tools to Measure Norms Towards Smoking, Nicotine Use, and the Tobacco Industry

Lead investigator

Professor Ann McNeill, Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) King’s College London


E-cigarette use has increased and there are now estimated to be 2.8 million current e-cigarettes users in Great Britain. There are concerns that this increase in e-cigarette use could lead to the renormalisation of smoking ordinary tobacco cigarettes, although to date there is no evidence of this as current smoking among adults continues to decline and fewer youth are taking up smoking. Nevertheless, the concern that the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes may have a negative impact on smoking prevalence, suggests a need to monitor if norms towards smoking are changing. Generally, norms are thought of the beliefs people hold about how other people behave and how they themselves should behave, and these in turn influence people’s attitudes and ultimately their intentions and behaviour. For the purposes of this report, norms were categorized into: Descriptive interpersonal norms; descriptive societal norms; injunctive interpersonal norms and injunctive societal norms.


The objective of this study was to develop two tools (sets of measures) to monitor norms towards smoking (including second-hand smoke), nicotine use and the tobacco industry, one for youth and one for adults. The Public Health Research Consortium (PHRC) commissioned researchers at King’s College London and the University of Stirling to design the tools which were developed over three key stages: desk reviews of current measures, cognitive testing, and finally pilot testing. Natcen carried out the cognitive testing in consultation with the research team. Experts and other stakeholders were consulted at each stage.


Katherine East, King’s College London
Sara C Hitchman, King’s College London
Martine Stead, University of Stirling
Anne Marie MacKintosh, University of Stirling

Duration: 01/04/2015 - 31/03/2016