Making available key findings on all aspects of smoking and smoking cessation in the UK

Guidance for Authors

Last updated: 03/04/2013

This guidance is likely to change as the journal matures so authors should review them each time they consider submitting.

Article Type

The Smoking in Britain Journal will consider two types of article:

  1. reports of studies based on quantitative or qualitative data
  2. opinion pieces.

All articles must use the Word templates which are provided on this website. As we do not have funds for copy-editing or typesetting, it is the author’s responsibility to ensure that all articles are formatted in the journal style and include all compulsory elements.

Statement of Competing Interests

One of these compulsory elements is the statement of competing interests. It is assumed that all authors have competing interests and that it is just a question of informing readers of what they are.

Financial interests are the most obvious but espousing a particular theory or having previously obtained a particular result can be just as powerful a motivation to distort data. The journal expects authors to be honest and open. Whilst we do not have the resources to police this, our peer review process allows readers the opportunity to comment on articles and this includes identifying a failure to declare a competing interest.

Structure of Data-Based Articles

The structure of data-based articles may vary according to the study although for clarity it is normally important to separate out descriptions:

  1. research questions (and hypotheses if any)
  2. why these are potentially of interest (unless it is obvious)
  3. methods used
  4. details of findings
  5. comment on the findings (optional)

Quantitative and Qualitative Research

The journal publishes quantitative and qualitative research. In both cases the conclusions drawn must reflect the data available. Thus quantitative surveys on convenience samples cannot estimate prevalence and neither can qualitative studies. Authors are strongly advised to phrase their citable statements conservatively. The following gives a guide:

X has Y effect Only use when there is experimental evidence on a sample that can be assumed to be representative of the population to which you are generalising
X appears to have Y effect Use when there is experimental evidence but the sample may not generalise, or when there is quasi-experimental or good correlational evidence and highly plausible confounding factors have been adjusted for statistically or shown not to be relevant
X is associated with Y Use when there is correlational evidence and causality cannot be directly inferred or relies on a number of assumptions
X occurs in Y% of cases
The mean/median value of X is Y
Only use when X has been measured using a defensible measure in a sample that can reasonably be assumed to be representative of the population to which one is seeking to generalise
X appears to be common/rare
In general the value of X appears to be high/low
Use when X has been measured using a defensible measure and the sample might be expected to be fairly representative but precise quantification cannot be justified
X can occur Use when X has been observed but there is no indication as to how common it is
X may occur Use when there is some evidence of X occurring but frequency is unknown and the observation may be an illusion

These statements can be combined, as in X can have Y effect (e.g. cytisine can help smokers to stop). These are just examples for guidance.


There is no fixed length for papers though authors are advised that most readers will not read anything longer than about 3000. Thus they are strongly advised to keep speculation to a minimum and only say what is necessary to get the message across.

Multiple Studies

Multiple studies can be reported in one paper if they are needed to answer a question. The idea that every question can be answered with a single study is clearly nonsense. Sometimes the researchers are engaged in a process of detective work, seeking further data to support or disconfirm a set of hypotheses.


References can be in any format as long as it allows readers to locate the source. We strongly recommend use of Reference Manager or Endnote.

Authors should feel at liberty to refer to other published work regarding methods rather than repeating them. If data are being reported from an ongoing established set of surveys, it is not necessary to keep repeating the methods.

Opinion Pieces

Opinion pieces can follow any structure but must have one or more citable statements setting out what the opinion is and then an argument, based on evidence, backing this up.




Sample Templates

Research Reports

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