Vaping News

Scholarship Programme Call for Applications

The Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme is calling for applications from the tobacco harm reduction leaders of the future

Share on:
A global programme helping to produce the tobacco harm reduction leaders of the future is currently seeking new applications. In its first five years, the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme (THRSP) has had an unprecedented impact around the world, developing the careers of 98 Scholars from 40 countries across six continents.

The programme is run by UK-based public health agency Knowledge•Action•Change (K•A•C) with the support of a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, the THRSP is currently looking for its sixth cohort of Scholars.

Applications close on 30 November. Successful candidates will receive a 12-month bespoke mentoring programme to undertake a THR-related project of their own design, plus $10k in financial support. On completion of the Scholarship, graduates of the THRSP then potentially have access to up to a further three years of funded support from K•A•C.

What is tobacco harm reduction?

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a potentially life-saving intervention for millions of people across the world. To those who currently use high-risk tobacco products, like combustible and some oral tobaccos, it offers the chance to switch to a range of safer nicotine products that pose fewer risks to their health. These include nicotine vapes, heated tobacco products, snus and nicotine pouches.

Why was the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme created?

The THRSP was launched to increase research and practice capacity in tobacco harm reduction in target locations and populations where current activities and resources are limited. The THRSP has a particular focus on low and middle-income countries (LMIC), where the need for new approaches to tobacco-related harms are especially acute. It aims to introduce new thinkers, new ideas and new methods to tobacco harm reduction, as well as increasing the use of social media and new technologies to disseminate accurate information about the potential for safer nicotine products to reduce the global number of smoking-related deaths, which currently total 8 million every year.

The THRSP achieves its goals in a number of ways. Applicants to the Programme must devise a project that will improve understanding of, or communication about, tobacco harm reduction appropriate for their country, region, or personal area of expertise. Current and former Scholars have published original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, created national and international tobacco harm reduction networks, developed toolkits for smoking cessation or healthcare practitioners, and produced new media resources ranging from articles and films to radio shows and podcasts.

Speaking about the first five years of the THRSP, Jon Derricott, the THR Scholarship Programme Manager, said: “The impact of the Programme to date has been immense. It has helped to shape and challenge thinking, practice and policy in many areas of the world, particularly in LMIC. The biggest influence is yet to come to full fruition, but this will be a growing cohort of well-informed and highly capable THR professionals who will continue to speak up for the benefits of THR and robustly challenge misinformation wherever it occurs. This really matters, because at the root of all this, is people’s right to a healthy life, even if they continue to use nicotine. THR enables that goal to be an attainable reality.”

Chimwemwe Ngoma, a graduate of the Programme from Malawi who now works as the THR Scholarship Manager, said: “Being part of the THRSP as a scholar, a mentor and then becoming the THR Scholarship Manager has been a life-changing journey. The THRSP has opened new and exciting doors for me, and I am confident that many people have also benefited through what I have been able to offer. This has been the biggest opportunity for me to give back to the community and impact lives.”

The new cohort of Scholars will be the second group to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who is Patron of the THRSP. He said: “I’m honoured to be Patron of this Programme for three reasons. Firstly, because it enables the scholarship recipients to engage in important work that can advance harm reduction, reduce disease, and save lives. Secondly, because there is not, to my knowledge, any other programme like it. And thirdly, because tobacco harm reduction is an underdog movement solidly grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights but still at odds with dominant forces in politics, media and philanthropy.”

What do Scholars say about the THRSP?

Aishat Alaran is a THRSP graduate from Nigeria who is now studying for an MPhil in Population Health Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Talking about her experience, she said: “Since I was accepted onto the THRSP, it’s been an amazing journey and one that has now led me to the UK. Tobacco harm reduction appeals to me so much because it falls at an intersection between public health and consumer rights. It is a field in which you can have an impact on a lot of people in your community, your country, your continent and potentially even globally. I know I can help a large number of people through THR and that’s why I’m so passionate about it.”

Another graduate is Professor Dr. Mihaela Răescu, a member of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at Titu Maiorescu University in Bucharest, who is now a Mentor for the THRSP. She conducted two studies during her time on the Programme which found that switching from combustible cigarettes to heated tobacco products could boost the oral health of smokers and even increase the success of dental implants. She said: “When I saw an advert calling for applications to the THRSP, I knew this would offer me the perfect opportunity to carry out some novel research that could make a real difference not just for my patients, but for the dental profession as a whole, and that’s what has happened. As a result of my scholarships, I’ve been able to share my results with other dentists and many are now advising their patients about the benefits of tobacco harm reduction.”

A winner of the Diana Award, who is now studying for an MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, Yusuff Adebayo Adebisi is another THRSP graduate from Nigeria. He said: “The Scholarship has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I now have the opportunity to advance my knowledge on tobacco harm reduction and contribute to making an impact within my home country. In addition to this, the Scholarship has allowed me to develop my research interests in the field of tobacco harm reduction. I strongly recommend this Scholarship for everyone who wants to make a meaningful impact where it matters. The programme is life changing.”

Originally from the UK, but now based in the USA where he is the founding editor-in-chief of Filter Magazine, Will Godfrey has also made the journey from Scholar to Mentor. Talking about his connection with K•A•C, he said: “I know from my experience that the Programme is not one of those things where they help you for a few months and then wave goodbye. When you enrol with the THRSP, it’s the beginning of a deep and ongoing relationship with K•A•C and your fellow Scholars. I know that my own work in THR would not have achieved anything like the scope, depth and scale that it has without this Programme. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I want to express my gratitude to the team at K•A•C for making all of this possible.”

So, what happens next?

If you have an idea for a project exploring an aspect of tobacco harm reduction, the THRSP invites you to apply for your place on the 2023-24 Programme before the deadline for applications on 30/11/22. To find out more about the Programme visit our website:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

CAPHRA Highlights Tobacco Control Flaws

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates highlights the flaws in tobacco control which has led to the rise of black market in Australia

Vaping News

A Missed Opportunity at COP10

The Smoke Free Sweden movement says that COP10 was a missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Vaping News

COP10: Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction

Experts with Smoke Free Sweden are emphasising the urgent need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction approach at COP10