Although tobacco use is declining in many parts of the world, it is still in widespread use in the Global South. Researchers Professor Kamran Siddiqi and Dr Omara Dogar are exploring its consequences for manufacturers, governments and users.

Tell us about your research

The use of both traditional and smokeless tobacco exerts a huge health and economic burden in the Global South, and is cited as a major cause of poverty, social inequality and environmental degradation.

Our research addresses issues relating to tobacco across the spectrum of involvement, from stakeholder use of tobacco products, to the production of government policies and ways of improving implementation of these policies on tobacco control.

What difference will your research make?

Our work will reduce the health and economic burden of traditional and smokeless tobacco in SE Asia. Behavioral support packages delivered in the region will promote smoking cessation, with particular reference to Tuberculosis (TB) clinics, greatly improving the health of TB patients.

Training counsellors on delivering the integrated smoking cessation intervention, and its implementation in TB services, will impact the treatment burden of TB and lead to improved outcomes.

Work in the policy environment has led to the creation of a tobacco policy forum, enhancing governmental understanding of research methods, utilisation of research findings and commitment to engage with academics and research activities.

The policy forum identified policy priorities including media awareness-raising campaigns, formalising the smokeless tobacco cottage industry, standardising smokeless tobacco packaging, increasing taxes on smokeless tobacco products and integrating smokeless tobacco cessation advice within health systems. There was also a commitment to close cooperation with advocacy groups to create a climate of support and information for policy makers committed to addressing smokeless tobacco use.

Who are you working with?

We are working with a wide range of stakeholders in SE Asia, with a focus on Pakistan and the wider SE Asian area. Notable partners include the Indus Health Network, the Government of Pakistan, the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Pakistan, Khyber Medical University and Aga Khan University.