Our work plans

ASTRA’s planned programme of research will encompass four research studies, as well as capacity building activities.

To find out more about ASTRA’s activities, please select them from the list below.

Youth study

The purpose of the Youth study is to assess the impact of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) policies on the uptake of smokeless tobacco among adolescents in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. To do this, we will conduct longitudinal surveys of adolescents (aged between 13 and 17 years), in two administrative areas in each country. We will be asking the teenagers about their ST habits and attitudes towards ST, and relating these to how the FCTC policies are being put into practice in their area.

Sellers study

The purpose of the Sellers study is to assess the extent to which smokeless tobacco products are marketed and sold in violation of FCTC policies in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. We will also identify barriers and facilitators to the effective implementation of the relevant policies.

Building on work which has already been carried out by ASTRA team members, we will survey local shops that sell ST, and interview shopkeepers and their suppliers about how FCTC policies affect their business.

Cessation study

The purpose of the Cessation study is to design (or adapt) innovative behavioural and pharmacological interventions to support adults in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India who wish to quit using smokeless tobacco. We will test the interventions for feasibility and cultural acceptability, and assess whether further full-scale trials to estimate effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) could be carried out.

Economics study

The purpose of the Economics study is to estimate the economic cost and health impacts of smokeless tobacco use at current consumption rates and to examine the impact of possible new strategies that could mitigate these costs. An adapted version of an economics model for smoking interventions will be used.

Policy Study

We are developing a new policy framework, to use as an assessment tool to measure smokeless tobacco control policy in South Asia.

Capacity building

Capacity building and sustainability are integral components of ASTRA. With the help of policy makers (WHO), advocates (CRUK, The Union), funders and our stakeholders, we aim to support governments in making evidence-based amendments to existing policies and regulations.

We will seek future funding and additional collaborations to exploit the opportunities offered by our research. We aim to expand our engagement with other academic, governmental and NGO partners.

We will also build on our existing efforts to enhance capacity in applied health research in South Asia. We plan to recruit a cohort of six Post-Doctoral fellows (one based in the UK, one in Bangladesh and two each in India and Pakistan). They will be offered mentorship and a bespoke training programme.

Stakeholder workshops

Input from ASTRA’s stakeholders is a key part of our programme. Our stakeholders’ opinions and advice will be crucial in informing our research studies and disseminating our results. We will also depend on our stakeholders for the sustainability and legacy of our work.

Each year, a stakeholder engagement workshop will be held in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, to garner input from a panel of key stakeholders in each country. These stakeholders will include local experts in tobacco control, policy-makers, academics, and representatives from government and NGOs.