Nicola Lindson-Hawley is currently managing a large-scale multi-centre randomised controlled trial, being led by the University of Birmingham, investigating the efficacy of four weeks of nicotine patch preloading in smokers who want to quit, funded by the NIHR HTA. This work follows on from her PhD research which investigated new approaches to smoking cessation: smoking reduction and preloading, funded by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies.
Nicola has published a number of research papers in the field of smoking cessation, including a Cochrane Review comparing abrupt quitting to reduction to quit. She also has a lot of experience in presenting her research and has delivered invited plenary presentation at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference (2010) and the ASH Wales annual conference (2012)
In 2011 Nicola was awarded the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine’s (UKSBM) Early Career Award, and was co-applicant on an NIHR awarded grant worth £2,189,845. Nicola achieved Chartered Psychologist status from the British Psychological Society in 2013.
Nicola Lindson-Hawley qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the Nottingham Trent University in 2005, and went on to achieve her MSc in Research Methods from the same university the following year.
She then went on to begin her career in Primary Care research as a Research Associate at the University of Nottingham, investigating the development of a tool to help general practitioners to identify patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). During this time the University of Nottingham secured funding for the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), which Nicola was keen to become involved with. In 2009 Nicola was awarded a studentship to study for a PhD in smoking cessation at the University of Birmingham (a member institution of the UKCTCS), and this was awarded in 2012.
Nicola has developed a portfolio of publications and experience of presenting her research. She has also been involved in student supervision and marking for the BMedSc programme, and is a peer reviewer for several journals. She co-founded a research group within her team to facilitate research ideas for small-scale projects and has assisted on a Department of Health pilot study of new cessation interventions in the NHS Stop Smoking Service. She was recently a co-applicant on a successful grant application (NIHR HTA), was awarded the UKSBM’s Early Career Award (2011), and achieved Chartered Psychologist status (2013).
The Preloading Trial
The Preloading Trial is a large (N= 1786), multi-centre (Birmingham, Bristol, London, Nottingham) randomised controlled trial funded by the NIHR HTA to investigate the efficacy of nicotine patch preloading. Nicotine patch preloading is the use of nicotine patches by smokers before they quit smoking. Participants who wish to stop smoking will be recruited through their GP practice or local stop smoking service and be randomised to one of two trial arms. Participants in the preloading arm will receive 4 weeks of nicotine patch treatment, whilst being advised to smoke as normal before quitting, whereas participants in the control arm will receive no preloading treatment, but will be provided with a minimal intervention to help them to cope with their urges to smoke. This leads on from Nicola’s PhD research which found that evidence for the efficacy of nicotine preloading is contradictory and inconclusive. A large trial such as this will provide high quality evidence as to whether nicotine preloading should be recommended to smokers and utilised by the NHS as a Stop Smoking Services’ treatment option.
Nicola’s PhD research centred around a large randomised controlled trial (the Rapid Reduction Trial) comparing reducing smoking before quitting and quitting abruptly, whilst also using nicotine preloading prior to quitting. The aim of this was to ascertain whether reduction before quitting could be used as an alternative approach to abrupt quitting in smoking cessation services. Nicola wrote and published the research protocol for the Rapid Reduction Trial, alongside assisting with the running of the trial. She also conducted and published a Cochrane Review comparing smoking reduction before quitting with abrupt quitting, and an updated meta-analysis of nicotine preloading incorporating abrupt quitting and smoking reduction. Finally, Nicola interviewed participants from the Rapid Reduction Trial and analysed the resulting data using a qualitative framework approach, and plans to submit this for publication.
Other research activity
Nicola is first author of a Cochrane Review comparing reducing smoking to quit with quitting abruptly, updated in 2012
Nicola is leading the quantitative analysis and write-up of the Rapid Reduction Trial
Nicola is lead investigator on a project investigating the attitudes of service users toward cessation advisors’ smoking history and whether this has an effect on advisors. Data was collected using a questionnaire included in the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training’s (NCSCT) annual cessation advisors’ survey.
Nicola provided research support for the ‘Routes to Quit’ pilots (investigating new approaches to smoking cessation in the NHS Stop Smoking Services) on behalf of the NHS Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) & the Department of Health (DoH).
Nicola is supervising the write-up of a BMedSc student project investigating whether smokers’ depression and anxiety levels change during the course of an attempt to quit smoking, and whether this differs between those who successfully quit and those that don’t
Nicola is co-founder of a research group within the Smoking Research Group at the University of Birmingham, which was started to encourage the development of small scale research projects, using a range of methods, and in turn the diversity of research in the group.
Listen to Nicola talking about quitting smoking for the Cochrane Review here:
Lindson-Hawley N, Begh R, McDermott M, McEwen A, Lycett D. The importance of practitioner smoking status: a survey of NHS Stop Smoking Service practitioners. Patient Education and Counseling 2013, in press
De P, Farley A Lindson N, Aveyard P. Systematic review and meta-analysis: influence of smoking cessation on incidence of pneumonia in HIV. BMC Medicine 2013,11: 15. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-15
Lindson-Hawley N, Aveyard P, Hughes JR. Reduction versus abrupt cessation in smokers who want to quit. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 11 Art. No.:CD008033. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008033.pub3
Morriss R, Lindson N, Coupland C, Dex G, Avery A. Estimating the prevalence of medically unexplained symptoms from primary care records. Public Health 2012, 126 (10): 846-854. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.05.008
Lindson N, Aveyard P., (2011), Response to Rose (2011): nicotine preloading: the importance of a pre-cessation reduction in smoking behavior. Psychopharmacology, 218 (2): 459-460. DOI:10.1007/s00213-011-2351-z
Aveyard P, Lindson N., (2011), Commentary on Chan et al. (2011): Smoking reduction – where are we now? Addiction, 106 (6): 1164-1165. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03453.x
Lindson N, Aveyard P., (2010), An updated meta-analysis of nicotine preloading for smoking cessation: investigating mediators of the effect. Psychopharmacology, 214 (3): 579. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-010-2069-3
Lindson N., (2010), Cochrane reviews- in their own words. Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, 3 (2): 133. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-5391.2010.01082.x
Lindson N, Aveyard P, Hughes JR., (2010), Reduction versus abrupt cessation in smokers who want to quit (Review) Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008033.pub2
Lindson N, Aveyard P, Ingram JT, Inglis J, Beach J, West R, Michie S., (2009), Rapid reduction versus abrupt quitting for smokers who want to stop soon: a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial. Trials, 10: 69. DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-10-69
Lindson N, Morriss R., (2008). Sorting out somatisers. General Practice Update, November 49-55.