Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme

Posted 23rd November 2021 by Dave Cross
There is just one week to go for people to apply to be part of Knowledge•Action•Change’s (K•A•C) 2022-23 Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme. KAC is looking for people to propose projects exploring their professional or personal interest in tobacco harm reduction for the next cohort of its scholarship scheme.

Applications for the fifth year of the Programme close on 30 November 2021, and successful applicants will receive a 12-month bespoke mentoring programme and up to $10k in financial support.

Launched in 2018, the Programme has had an unprecedented global impact so far with 75 Scholars on six continents, and, to further enhance the Programme’s status, K•A•C has recently announced the appointment of Ethan Nadelmann, the founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, as the THRSP’s new Patron. Ethan will be providing support to the recipients of these scholarships, and he is looking forward to getting started in his new role.

Ethan Nadelmann said: “What I like about this programme is it’s for activists, it’s for young academics and for journalists; people who find themselves drawn to harm reduction as a matter of principle, as a matter of personal experience and want the opportunity to do this. That's why the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is important, and I’m delighted to become its new Patron.”

Paddy Costall, a Director at K•A•C, says the THRSP is a crucial part of global efforts to communicate the benefits of safer nicotine products, helping to raise awareness about vaping, heated tobacco products, snus and nicotine pouches.

Paddy stated: “The Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is the jewel in the crown for K•A•C. When we were setting out on this journey, we wanted to attract a passionate and diverse group of new advocates into the tobacco harm reduction field from across the globe. We wanted to inspire them to take the movement into the future. We wanted to find the researchers of tomorrow, and with the THRSP that is exactly what we are doing.”

Vape Club

During the first three years, THRSP Scholars have completed a remarkable variety of projects across the world. These include:

  • A short documentary film exploring attitudes on smoking and THR in Malawi
  • Novel scientific research in Romania showing that switching completely from combustible cigarettes to heated tobacco products can boost the oral health of smokers
  • The creation of a Smoking and Recovery Toolkit in the US to combat the high rates of smoking among people in recovery or seeking treatment for dependency on alcohol or other drugs
  • A study assessing the THR knowledge base of healthcare staff in Lithuania
  • A pair of studies that demonstrated the potential for safer nicotine products, such as vaping and Swedish-style snus, to help India’s smokers and smokeless tobacco users
  • The creation of THR Uganda, an organisation set up to share accurate information on tobacco smoking and nicotine with its own dedicated website
  • A study on the effects of providing vapes to homeless smokers in Ireland

One of the THRSP’s graduates is Elisa Correa, a Chilean filmmaker based in the US, who created a high-quality documentary for her project. She said: “I didn’t know much about tobacco harm reduction before my Scholarship. I learned so much during the 12 months of the Programme and I was taught the tools I needed to be a good researcher. I also met Scholars from a wide range of different countries and the network I built will help me continue to support tobacco harm reduction in future.”

Another Scholar, Sahan Lungu, is currently undertaking a project to see if snus, a safer nicotine product popular in Scandinavia, might be a potential alternative to the harmful smokeless tobacco used among women living in rural areas in Malawi. He said: “Receiving this Scholarship has been life-changing for me - I’ve also experienced first-hand how this work in tobacco harm reduction can make a huge positive difference to people’s lives.”

The THRSP is determined to make a difference to its Scholars, and this starts from their first day. A bespoke Induction Programme kickstarts their Scholarship and provides a solid foundation into the field of tobacco harm reduction. This training and support continues with the K•A•C Academy. This is an online platform which provides a range of videos and conference presentations, academic articles, news reports and questionnaires to help Scholars take a deeper dive into the field.

Scholars are invited to attend the annual Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw and they benefit from the Programme’s Mentoring Scheme. This matches each of the Scholars with an acknowledged expert from their area of study who provides guidance throughout their 12- month projects. Each cohort of Scholars forms a community - they enjoy working together and support each other’s work.

Premier Ecigs

Visit the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme website to find out more


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Grey Haze