Please read the Instructions for Authors, including guidance about what types of papers the editors prioritize, below. NOTE: The editors are unable to respond to advance queries regarding manuscripts or topics due to the volume of submissions we receive. Authors are advised to review the content in recent issues of the journal, read the instructions for authors in its entirety, and consider the policy/population level implications of their work. Please highlight in a BRIEF cover letter the key reasons your manuscript should be a priority for publication in Tobacco Control. The principal concern of Tobacco Control is to provide a forum for research, analysis, commentary, and debate on policies, programmes, and strategies that are likely to further the objectives of a comprehensive tobacco control policy. In papers submitted for review the introduction should indicate why the research reported or issues discussed are important in terms of controlling tobacco use, and the discussion section should include an analysis of how the research reported contributes to tobacco control objectives. Papers firmly anchored to a strategic policy and programme context are more likely to be accepted for publication. As the journal seeks to reach an international readership, authors should consider whether their intended submissions address issues or themes, which are likely to be of interest to researchers working in other nations. Overly parochial issues, which contain few lessons for tobacco control policy outside a paper’s local context, are unlikely to be given high priority. The manuscripts editors will generally not give high priority to:
  • Studies of smoking prevalence and its correlates. These are best suited to national journals. Few people living outside a country are interested in whether that country has 30% or 35% of smokers.
  • Knowledge, attitudes, behaviour (KAB) studies of particular population groups or health professionals. Again, these are better suited to national journals or to health professional speciality journals. Few people in other countries are likely to be interested in (for example) whether nurses in a regional hospital are interested in helping patients quit. National studies, and those taking such studies into original areas are of more interest.
  • Reports that evoke unanimous “so what?” responses from the editors. These are papers with findings that seem to hold no obvious importance for changing policy or practice in tobacco control. They often display methodological finery, but don’t take us anywhere important or interesting.
  • Opinion pieces where the opinions are unoriginal, poorly argued, naïve or disregard for important ethical issues in favour of sloganeering.
  • Papers that show the authors have never opened Tobacco Control and do not understand its primary focus on tobacco control rather than on tobacco and its use and health consequences. We are interested in such papers, but only if their authors address the implications of their findings for tobacco control.
  • Papers with glaringly obvious, fatal methodological problems.
  • Papers on subjects that require highly technical or discipline-specific language unlikely to be understood by the majority of readers.
  • Papers which are replications of already well-established findings or offer little new information.
  • Local studies where the implications for the journal’s international audience are unclear.
  • Reports written for governments or local health authorities that someone thought might be given a quick make-over and submitted as a journal paper.

Editorial policy

Tobacco Control adheres to the highest standards concerning its editorial policies on publication ethics, scientific misconduct, consent and peer review criteria. To view all BMJ Journal policies please refer to the BMJ Author Hub policies page.    

People-first language policy

Tobacco Control has a policy of using people-first language which avoids putting product use first. In simple terms, this means avoiding use of labels such as ‘smoker’, ‘tobacco user’ and ‘vaper’. Find out more here.

Plan S compliance

Tobacco Control is a Plan S compliant Transformative Journal. Transformative Journals are one of the compliance routes offered by cOAlition S funders, such as Wellcome, WHO and UKRI. Find out more about Transformative Journals and Plan S compliance on our Author Hub.

Copyright and authors’ rights

Articles are published under an exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence for UK Crown employees or where BMJ has agreed CC BY applies. For US Federal Government officers or employees acting as part of their official duties, the terms are as stated in accordance with our licence terms. Authors or their employers retain copyright. Open access articles can be reused under the terms of the relevant Creative Commons licence to facilitate reuse of the content; please refer to the Tobacco Control Author Licence for the applicable Creative Commons licences. More information on copyright and authors’ rights.
When publishing in Tobacco Control, authors choose between three licence types – exclusive licence granted to BMJ, CC-BY-NC and CC-BY (Creative Commons open access licences require payment of an article-processing charge). As an author you may wish to post your article in an institutional or subject repository, or on a scientific social sharing network. You may also link your published article to your preprint (if applicable). What you can do with your article, without seeking permission, depends on the licence you have chosen and the version of your article. Please refer to the BMJ author self-archiving and permissions policies page for more information.


Preprints foster openness, accessibility and collaboration by allowing authors to make their findings immediately available to the research community and receive feedback on an article before it is submitted to a journal for formal publication. BMJ fully supports and encourages the archiving of preprints in any recognised, not-for-profit server such as medRxiv. BMJ does not consider the posting of an article in a dedicated preprint repository to be prior publication.
Preprints are reports of work that have not been peer-reviewed; Preprints should therefore not be used to guide clinical practice, health-related behaviour or health policy. For more information, please refer to our Preprint policy page.

Peer review process

Articles submitted to Tobacco Control are subject to peer review. In most instances we aim for two external opinions (and often additional statistical assessment) for reasons of fairness and science. The journal is not prepared to compromise on this stance. The journal operates single anonymised peer review whereby the names of the reviewers are hidden from the author; Manuscripts authored by a member of a journal’s editorial team are independently peer reviewed; an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for their own article. For more information on what to expect during the peer review process please refer to BMJ Author Hub – the peer review process. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are based on the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Please refer to our peer review terms and conditions policy page.
BMJ is committed to transparency. Every article we publish includes a description of its provenance (commissioned or not commissioned) and whether it was internally or externally peer reviewed. During the submission process, authors must not suggest reviewers who are current or recent colleagues of themselves or their co-authors. For more information about suggesting reviewers please visit our Author Hub. Plagiarism is the appropriation of the language, ideas or thoughts of another without crediting their true source and representation of them as one’s own original work. BMJ is a member of CrossCheck by CrossRef and iThenticate. iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of content submitted before publication. BMJ runs manuscripts through iThenticate during the peer review process. Authors, researchers and freelancers can also use iThenticate to screen their work before submission by visiting

Article transfer service

BMJ is committed to ensuring that all good quality research is published. Our article transfer service helps authors find the best journal for their research while providing an easy and smooth publication process. If authors agree to transfer their manuscript, all versions, supplementary files and peer reviewer comments are automatically transferred; there is no need to resubmit or reformat.
Authors who submit to Tobacco Control and are rejected will be offered the option of transferring to another BMJ Journal, such as BMJ Public Health or BMJ Open. Please note that the article transfer service does not guarantee acceptance but you should receive a quicker initial decision on your manuscript. Contact the Transfer Editor at

Tobacco industry funded work

Tobacco Control will not consider for publication papers reporting work funded, in whole or in part, by a tobacco company or tobacco industry organisation. Nor will the journal consider papers by authors who accept tobacco industry funding, including funding for research costs, for all or part of any author’s salary, or other forms of personal remuneration. For further information, please read this editorial giving the reasoning behind the journal’s policy. Failure to declare competing interests at submission, or when an article is commissioned, can result in immediate rejection of the paper. If a competing interest comes to light after publication, Tobacco Control will issue a formal correction to or retraction of the whole paper, as appropriate.

Material previously published online

Tobacco Control is willing to consider papers based wholly or in part on material previously published online. However, authors should consider an editorial on this subject: Prior publication on the web: new journal policy. The editor retains the customary right to make changes in style and if necessary to shorten, with the approval of the author(s), material accepted for publication. Any written or illustrative material that has been published elsewhere must be duly acknowledged and accompanied by the written consent of the copyright holder (this may be the publisher rather than the author).

Fast tracking

Under special circumstances where a paper’s findings have immediately relevant policy implications warranting urgent publication, manuscripts may be fast-tracked ahead of the normal queue of papers. Should you feel that you have good reasons why this is true for your paper, please detail these in a cover letter, explaining the importance of your work for the field and the reason you feel it is of sufficient importance to be handled urgently. This request does not guarantee that the editors will agree, and only a few papers a year will be expedited on this basis, but it may help the editors to evaluate the paper’s importance in the current context.

Formatting, terms and revised manuscripts

Format: Please prepare your manuscript in 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced. Terminology: Papers on electronic cigarettes should use the term ‘electronic cigarettes’ on first use, after which the abbreviation ‘e-cigarettes’ may be used. Papers on other nicotine delivery systems may continue to use the term ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems’ followed by the abbreviation ‘ENDS’ after first use. Papers addressing Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) should avoid using the term “Heat Not Burn.”
References: Journals from BMJ use a slightly modified version of Vancouver referencing style, which is available in Endnote. For further details please refer to ‘References’ on the Formatting your paper page of the BMJ Author Hub. Revisions: When uploading a revised manuscript, authors should also include a separate manuscript file highlighting the tracked changes to show the editors the difference from the previous version. The tracked changes document should be uploaded as a supplementary file.

Research reporting guidelines

BMJ requires compliance to the following reporting guidelines. Please upload the relevant completed checklist for your study type with your submission, and label it “Research checklist”. If no relevant checklist is available for your study type, this can be indicated on the submission form.
CONSORT statement – Required for all randomised controlled trials PRISMA statement – Required for all systematic reviews EVEREST statement – Required for all economic evaluations STARD statement – Required for all diagnostic research papers STROBE statement – Required for all observational studies SQUIRE statement – Required for all quality improvement studies Guidance and forms are available from EQUATOR.

Video abstracts

We welcome video abstracts to accompany accepted research articles. These allow authors to personally talk through their work beyond the restrictions of a formal article to improve the user’s understanding. Note that we will not ask you to consider submitting a video abstract until your paper has been accepted. Please do not try to upload a video abstract upon initial submission of your manuscript. There are many tutorials online which can guide the production of a video abstract, using widely and often freely available software. Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie are the most common examples. Examples of video abstracts are available from The BMJ. Below are a few guidelines for making a video abstract. Authors may also want to ask their institution’s press/media office for assistance.
  • Video abstracts should not last longer than 4 minutes.
  • The content and focus of the video must relate directly to the study that has been accepted for publication, and should not stray beyond the data. We recommend that you follow the same structure as the paper itself i.e. briefly outline the background/context of the study, present your research objective, outline the methods used, present the key results and then discuss the implications of the outcomes.
  • The presentation and content of the video should be in a style and in terms that will be understandable and accessible to a general medical audience. The main language should be English, but we welcome subtitles in another language. Please avoid jargon that will not be familiar to a wide medical audience, and do not use abbreviations.
  • Authors usually talk directly into the camera and/or present a slideshow, but we encourage the use of other relevant visual and audio material (such as animations, video clips, still photographs, figures, infographics). If you wish to use material from previously published work or from other sources, please obtain the appropriate permissions from the relevant publisher or copyright owner.
  • If the video shows any identifiable living patients and/or identifiable personal details, authors need to demonstrate that consent has been obtained. If a patient consent form was provided for the related article, there is no need to provide this again for the video.
  • Please use the compression parameters that video sharing sites use. Often these are standard options from your editing software. A comprehensive guide is available from the Vimeo website.
Videos are too large to email so will need to be uploaded to BMJ’s account on the Hightail website. Please include the journal’s name and your manuscript ID number in the message field – this will enable us to match your video to your paper. Your video needs to be received by the time that you return the corrections for your article proof, at the very latest. Please note that if you do not correctly label your video or if you miss the deadline, this may cause delays in publication of both your article and the video. All video abstracts will be assessed for suitability by the editorial team and publication is not guaranteed. In some cases, editors may request edits to the video. Video abstracts are embedded within the research article online and also published separately on the journal’s YouTube channel. They are published under the same copyright terms as the associated article.

Article processing charges

During submission, authors can choose to have their article published open access for GBP 3,245 (plus VAT for UK and EU authors). Publishing open access has multiple benefits including wider reach, faster impact and increased citation and usage. Authors can also choose to publish their article in colour for the print edition – instead of the default option of black and white – for GBP 436. There are no submission, page or online-only colour figure charges.

Waivers and Discounts

If authors choose to publish their article open access, an APC waiver may be available. Before applying for an APC waiver please consider: (1) Does your institution have an open access agreement with BMJ? If it does, then this may cover all or part of the APC for your article. Check BMJ’s open access agreements page to find out whether your institution is a member and what discounts you may be entitled to (2) Have you received funding from a funder with an open access mandate or policy that covers paying APCs? If so, BMJ expects that the APC will be paid in full. If neither (1) nor (2) above apply then consider (3) Are all the authors of your article based in low-income countries*? If so, you are eligible to apply for a full or partial waiver from BMJ. Visit our author hub to learn more about our waivers policy and how to request one. Please note that regardless of the funding situation, authors can still choose to publish with us at no cost, and articles will be made available to our subscribers. *This list is reviewed annually and is based upon HINARI Core Offer Groups A and B, and the World Bank Country and Lending Groups.

Data sharing

Tobacco Control adheres to BMJ’s Tier 3 data policy. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. All research articles must contain a Data Availability Statement. For more information and FAQs, please see BMJ’s full Data Sharing Policy page.


Tobacco Control mandates ORCID iDs for the submitting author at the time of article submission; co-authors and reviewers are strongly encouraged to also connect their ScholarOne accounts to ORCID. We strongly believe that the increased use and integration of ORCID iDs will be beneficial for the whole research community.
Please find more information about ORCID and BMJ’s policy on our Author Hub.

Rapid responses

A rapid response is a moderated but not peer reviewed online response to a published article in Tobacco Control; it will not receive a DOI and will not be indexed. Find out more about responses and how to submit a response.

Submission guidelines

Original research

Articles reporting research may be full length or short reports. Research reviews that systematically synthesise evidence (e.g. Systematic reviews, Meta-analysis, Scoping reviews, Mixed methods reviews, etc) should be submitted as Systematic review. Papers should generally be a maximum of 3500 words in length, excluding tables, references, abstract and ‘What this paper adds’. Exceptions may occasionally be made to this, but in general shorter papers will be more competitive for publication. The editors will consider the merits of the case for longer papers on a case-by-case basis, but papers longer than 5000 words will not be considered. Authors are strongly encouraged to observe the recommended length limitations, as excessive length may disadvantage an otherwise acceptable paper given the space limitations of the journal. Please include the key messages of your article after your abstract using the following headings. This section should be no more than 3-5 sentences and should be distinct from the abstract; be succinct, specific and accurate.
  • What is already known on this topicsummarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject before you did your study and why this study needed to be done
  • What this study addssummarise what we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before
  • How this study might affect research, practice or policy – summarise the implications of this study
This will be published as a summary box after the abstract in the final published article. Word count: generally up to 3500 words Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 References: no limitation, but please use references only as needed This article type is subject to internal and external peer review

Short report

Short reports are shorter versions of original articles, should not exceed 1500 words, and may include one table or figure. Authors should include a section entitled ‘What this paper adds’, which summarises the key messages from the research as follows:
  • What is already known on this subject? In two or three single sentence bullet points please summarise the state of scientific knowledge on this subject. Be clear and specific, not vague.
  • What important gaps in knowledge exist on this topic.
  • What this study adds. In one or two single sentence bullet points give a simple answer to the question ‘What do we now know as a result of this study that we did not know before?’. Be brief, succinct, specific, and accurate.
This article type is subject to internal and external peer review.

Letter (original research)

Research letters intended for publication should be a maximum of 500 words, 10 references, and one table or figure. Research letters should not duplicate information given in the text of an article. They should have a title, a brief methods section, results and a discussion.
This article type is subject to internal and external peer review.

Special communication

Special communications are papers that do not report original research data but which provide a discussion, analysis, or review of a particular subject. In general, these should be 3500 words or less, with shorter contributions advantaged in consideration of space limitations. Special communications require an unstructured abstract, and a box briefly summarising what this paper adds.
This article type is subject to internal and sometimes external peer review.

Systematic review

Research review articles provide a review of the literature, usually concerning a particular subject, country, or geographical region. Review manuscripts, including meta-analyses, should include an abstract with the following headings: objective, data sources, study selection, data extraction, data synthesis, and conclusions Authors submitting review manuscripts and reports of the results of meta-analyses should prepare an abstract of no more than 250 words under the following headings:
  • Objective – The abstract should begin with a precise statement of the primary objective of the review. The focus of this statement should be guided by whether the review emphasises factors such as cause, behaviour, intervention, population, or prevention. It should include information about the specific population, intervention, exposure, and test or outcome that is being reviewed.
  • Data sources – A succinct summary of data sources should be given, including any time restrictions. Potential sources include experts or research institutions active in the field, computerised databases and published indexes, registries, abstract booklets, conference proceedings, references identified from bibliographies of pertinent articles and books, and companies or manufacturers of tests or agents being reviewed. If a bibliographic database is used, the exact indexing terms used for article retrieval should be stated, including any constraints (for example, English language or human subjects).
  • Study selection – The abstract should describe the criteria used to select studies for detailed review from among studies identified as relevant to the topic. Details of selection should include particular populations, interventions, outcomes, or methodological designs. The method used to apply these criteria should be specified – for example, blind review, consensus, multiple reviewers. The proportion of initially identified studies that met selection criteria should be stated.
  • Data extraction – Guidelines used for abstracting data and assessing data quality and validity (such as criteria for causal inference) should be described. The method by which the guidelines were applied should be stated: for example, independent extraction by multiple observers.
  • Data synthesis – The main results of the review, whether qualitative or quantitative, should be stated. Methods used to obtain these results should be outlined. Meta-analyses should state the major outcomes that were pooled and include odds ratios or effect sizes and if possible, sensitivity analyses. Numerical results should be accompanied by confidence intervals, if applicable, and exact levels of statistical significance. Evaluations of screening and diagnostic tests should address issues of sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, receiver operating characteristic curves, and predictive values. Assessments of prognosis should include summarisations of survival characteristics and related variables. Major identified sources of variation between studies should be stated, including differences in treatment protocols, co-interventions, confounders, outcome measures, follow up, and dropout rates.
  • Conclusions – The conclusions and their applications should be clearly stated, limiting generalisation to the domain of the review. The need for new studies may be suggested.
Word count: by negotiation, but generally 5000 words or less (excluding tables, figures and references) This article type is subject to internal and external peer review


Commentaries are opinion pieces, which are generally 1000 to 1500 words in length. This article type is subject to internal and sometimes external peer review.

News analysis

News articles should be sent by email to Dr Karen Evans-Reeves ( Submissions from, or concerning, developing countries are particularly welcome. We encourage the inclusion of appropriate, high-quality illustrations to accompany news articles.
NB. If you don’t own the copyright to the image(s), please ensure you obtain written permission for publication from the copyright owner and provide full details of the source for the appropriate credit.

Ad watch

Ad Watch is a section of the journal where tobacco advertising and promotional techniques, campaigns, and strategies are profiled and analysed. The text of these articles may be brief (letting the pictures “speak for themselves”) or may be more in-depth.
Word count: typically less than 500 words

Industry watch

Articles appearing in this section review, analyse and comment on tobacco industry activities and strategies.
Word count: usually less than 500 words

Advocacy in action

The objective of the section, which will be limited to one article per issue is to encourage people working in tobacco control advocacy to write up accounts of advocacy episodes in which they have been engaged in such a way that readers would gain new insights into strategic thinking about advocacy planning, what was done and achieved by a course of action or campaign, and what was learnt from it. All articles should address the following questions:
  • What did you set out to do?
  • Why is this important to tobacco control?
  • What are the actions and reactions (What you did and how the other side reacted)?
  • What did you achieve (or fail to achieve)?
  • Are there any lessons for advocates?
The maximum word count is 2000 words, plus references. This article is subject to internal and sometimes external peer review


Features two divergent views on a tobacco control issue. These articles are usually commissioned, but unsolicited manuscripts may also be submitted.
This article type is subject to internal peer review; sometimes additional commentaries are commissioned.

Covers and cover essays

Ideas and contributions for covers of Tobacco Control should be sent to Covers should be colourful and creative, with a tobacco control theme, and should require minimal or no text to be understood by an international audience. Original artwork, anti-tobacco posters, photographs, and cartoons may all be considered. Material with an international flavour is particularly desirable. High resolution images are required.
NB. If you don’t own the copyright to the image(s), please ensure you obtain written permission for publication from the copyright owner and provide full details of the source for the appropriate credit.

Cartoons (The Lighter Side)

The Lighter Side reproduces anti-tobacco cartoons. Ideas and submissions should be sent to Written permission to reproduce the cartoon should be obtained from the artist, publication, or company holding the copyright, and should be submitted with the cartoon. Parodies, satires, and other humorous material may also be submitted for this section.


BMJ Publishing Group journals are willing to consider publishing supplements to regular issues. Supplement proposals may be made at the request of:
  • The journal editor, an editorial board member or a learned society may wish to organise a meeting, sponsorship may be sought and the proceedings published as a supplement.
  • The journal editor, editorial board member or learned society may wish to commission a supplement on a particular theme or topic. Again, sponsorship may be sought.
  • The BMJPG itself may have proposals for supplements where sponsorship may be necessary.
  • A sponsoring organisation, often a pharmaceutical company or a charitable foundation, that wishes to arrange a meeting, the proceedings of which will be published as a supplement.
In all cases, it is vital that the journal’s integrity, independence and academic reputation is not compromised in any way.
For further information on criteria that must be fulfilled, download the supplements guidelines. When contacting us regarding a potential supplement, please include as much of the information below as possible.
  • Journal in which you would like the supplement published
  • Title of supplement and/or meeting on which it is based
  • Date of meeting on which it is based
  • Proposed table of contents with provisional article titles and proposed authors
  • An indication of whether authors have agreed to participate
  • Sponsor information including any relevant deadlines
  • An indication of the expected length of each paper Guest Editor proposals if appropriate