Smokers wanted for study set to fight tobacco burden

Time to put that cigarette out. Photo credit: Rien Pipe.

Smokers are being sought for a study that will tackle the effects of tobacco use, one of the biggest burdens of disease in Australia and around the world.

People aged 25-55 are invited to take part in a trial of a new product which aims to slow lung function decline in smokers and reduce rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is a progressive lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It affects one in seven Australians and is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions.

A study being conducted by The George Institute for Global Health in collaboration with Blacktown, Concord and Campbelltown hospitals and the Woolcock Institute for Medical Research will investigate how smokers can be helped to avoid a dangerous lung condition.

The study is seeking to enrol 100 current smokers who have smoked for 10 years or more, with no symptoms as yet of lung disease.

All volunteers will be advised and supported to give up smoking and offered a smoking cessation course first. People who cannot quit smoking will go on to participate in the trial. Participants are required to take a puffer daily and attend four study visits at a research site. The study will run for 12 months.

Head of respiratory trials at The George Institute for Global Health Professor Christine Jenkins said the trial was not a ‘get out of jail free card’ for smokers.

“We know that millions of people around the world are addicted to tobacco and find it very hard to give up,” Professor Jenkins said.

“What we want to do is to see if we can slow down lung function decline, and potentially even help some young smokers avoid emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which are incredibly debilitating conditions.”

The product, a long acting bronchodilator, is taken through an easy-to-use inhaler once a day and aims to open up the airways. The study treatment will not prevent other illnesses associated with smoking such as lung cancer.

The study is being independently conducted by The George Institute for Global Health and is funded by GlaxoSmithKline. The study is being recruited in collaboration with Blacktown Hospital, the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Concord and Campbelltown hospitals.

To sign up to the trial contact Joanne Phan on 8052 4361 or email

To speak to someone at Blacktown Hospital about the trial, call Dr Mohan Nagarajah on 8670 5736.

For more information visit

This study has been approved by the Western Sydney Local Health District Human Research Governance Office.