The Tobacco Control Unit (UCT) develops various research projects and intervention aimed at determining and know how to prevent and control tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the population. We use essentially the methods of epidemiology. Tobacco control is one of the priority themes of the Catalan Health Plan and various master plans (oncology and respiratory disease) and therefore our aim is that this projects developed at UCT have impact on the prevention and tobacco control in both, our immediate environment (ICO), as nationally and internationally.
The Unit develops a dual task. On the one hand it conducts evaluative research, including projects such as the measurement of the impact of second-hand smoke exposure in the population, its impact in hospitality workers’ health, or the use of biomarkers to assess airborne nicotine or cotinine concentration in people. On the other hand, the Unit develops applied projects on health promotion, such as the Catalan and the European Networks of Smoke-free Hospitals, or projects on health care such as the smoking cessation clinic, which offers support to quit smoking and continuous treatment to workers and patients from the ICO-IDIBELL environment.
The origin of the Unit is the Tobacco Research Group of Dr. Esteve Fernández, which was established in 2000 within the Cancer Prevention & Control Department at the ICO. The group developed research lines on smoking with projects led from the ICO and also in collaboration with other institutions, such as the Public Health Agency of Barcelona, the “Mario Negri” Research Institute, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University. The group activity expanded with its participation in European research projects and the coordination of the Catalan Network of Smoke-free Hospitals, and, more recently, the coordination of the Global Network for Tobacco-Free Health Care Services. At present, the TCU maintains stable collaborations with these and other institutions, such as the European Network for Smoking Prevention, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the World Health Organization. The TCU team is characterised by its youth and enthusiasm, and also by its multidisciplinarity, with professionals trained in medicine, epidemiology, psychology, anthropology, nursing, publicity, statistics and pharmacy.