KAC Scholars 2018/2019
Hoping to expand on his work on promoting safer and healthier alternatives to tobacco use, Samrat is conducting a project distributing e-cigarettes to bidi smokers in Mumbai, in order to gauge the user response to, and eventual take-up, of e-cigarettes. In particular, Samrat is evaluating the difficulties and obstacles in take-up of vaping in lower-income smoking communities, and how consumer models for e-cigarette distribution and e-liquid production can be adapted to better suit bidi smokers. Through support from his mentor Professor Rajesh Sharan, Samrat is helping to fill the gap in current knowledge surrounding the complexities and peculiarities of bidi smoker transitions to e-cigarettes.
Miroslaw has been an avid proponent and author of e-cigarette literature since the advent of vaping in the late 2000s, including writing the first ever book on e-cigarettes, “E-cigarettes for beginners”, and has worked as a scientific researcher and freelance scientific journalist since 1979. Through social media and blogging, Miroslaw will spread reliable, factual and scientific information regarding the use of e-cigarettes and e-liquids to an audience of tobacco smokers and those intending to quit tobacco use in Poland. With close help from his mentor, Professor Andrzej Sobczak, Miroslaw sources and collates current scientific data and publications surrounding e-cigarettes, and will be using these as exemplar pieces of scientific research to his vaping and smoking audience.
Personalised feedback, computer-delivered intervention (PFI) is an as yet unrealised potential treatment for the large proportion of smokers who suffer from elevated anxiety sensitivity. It is an alternative to the relatively time-dependent, long term treatments associated with elevated anxiety sensitivity and smoking. Lorra Garey is hoping to fill this gap by staging a randomized control trial of various computer-based PFI treatment plans, studying a population of current smokers as they attempt to quit smoking, and evaluating the success rates of smoking cessation. Through contact with her mentor, Helen Redmond, Lorra has been able to streamline and refine the intervention materials necessary for the proposed treatments, and gain a greater insight into the reduced harm nicotine products currently available. Lorra's full report will be available when data anaysis is complete.
Will Godfrey is taking an anti-misinformation and increased awareness approach to tobacco harm reduction in the US. Using his online news site, he aims to increase the level of common knowledge of key research and information surrounding tobacco harm reduction to a readership open to the concept of evidence-based policies. Launched in early October 2018, Will’s website, filtermag.org, provides up to date tobacco harm-related content, including pieces by Helen Redmond on the “War on nicotine”, and a variety of media formats including interviews, videos, op-eds and scientific analyses. This content is promoted with the help of social media and republications with larger scale publications. The overarching intent is to facilitate increased awareness for tobacco harm reduction, and facilitate constructive debate around tobacco harm reduction.
Tobacco cultivation and processing has become increasingly widespread in Bangladesh, despite multiple economic and logistical factors providing opposition to the shift of traditional crop growing farmers to become tobacco farmers. The reasoning and mentality behind this switch is the basis of Khan’s research, and by interviewing tobacco farmers to analyse the role of tobacco processing companies (TPC) in contracting tobacco cultivation amongst local farmers, Khan hopes to expand upon the current lack of detail regarding research into tobacco cultivator/TPC relationships, and provide future reference for policy making decisions in the region of Khulna in Bangladesh.
Yolande Jeffares is currently finishing an MS (Psychology) at Massey University. She currently lives in Nelson, New Zealand and studies via distance learning. Yolande was previously awarded a studentship by the Health Research Council of New Zealand to research ethical issues related to vaping and e-cigarette research which gave rise to her concerns regarding how vaping research is conducted and how vapers are often represented. She will be returning to GFN this year to further develop her qualitative research skills through the KAC Scholarship programmes and with the guidance of her mentor Dr Marewa Glover.
A social scientist in rural development and extension, researcher and tobacco harm reduction advocate who previously conducted research which was aimed at establishing evidence base on health and the socio-economic impact of Tobacco, and promoting intervention to enhance public understanding on tobacco harm reduction in Malawi.
Although harm reduction techniques are widespread throughout the world, India has an adverse stance with regards to e-cigarette use. This antipathy (including the banning of e-cigarettes in six States in India) is the subject of Michael Joseph’s research with the aid of the Scholarship programmme. Through a review of the extent of e-cigarette regulation in India, with especial interest in the State of Kerala, and analysis of civil society group involvement in public health choice and information provision, Michael Joseph hopes to provide a greater information base for civil society groups to oppose e-cigarette bans and reverse the anti-harm reduction messages currently dissipated by the Indian public health system. So far Michael Joseph has contacted policy makers and experts in Kerala, and with the help of his mentor, Professor Rajesh Sharan, has contacted further people in tobacco harm reduction in Delhi.
Ingmar Kurg is expanding on his work as founder and Chairman of the E-cigarette Sellers and Users Union of Estonia to conduct a survey of over 700 e-cigarette consumers. He will investigate how successive government regulations on e-cigarettes have impacted on vaping consumers in Estonia. Analysis of this survey will provide a wealth of information regarding trends in the change in user uptake of e-cigarettes related to legislative change and provide further information for law makers in Estonia to enact future regulation changes. An e-cigarette conference in the Estonian Parliament house in November 2018 provides a unique opportunity to further discuss reduced harm products for ex- and current- smokers. Ingmar is being mentored by Konstantinos Farsalinos.
Chimwemwe Ngoma is a social scientist and a tobacco harm reduction advocate, and is implementing an information dissemination project on tobacco harm reduction and nicotine science in Malawi. He leads a group of 24 tobacco harm reduction volunteer ambassadors in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Chimwemwe has worked as a Project and Resource Mobilisation Officer at Drug Fight Malawi. Whilst in college he undertook a research study on “The prevalence of drug and substance abuse in Malawian colleges”.
Prof. Dr Mihaela Raescu is a PhD in Medical Sciences who teaches Oral and Dental Prevention at the Titu Maiorescu University School of Dentistry in Bucharest, Romania since 2003 and is a tenured University Professor since 2015, in addition to being an active practitioner and primarius doctor. She is the Erasmus coordinator and the President of Ethical Committee. She has authored and co-authored numerous studies and publications and has been a guest speaker at various professional conferences. She conducted several research projects in the dentistry field and product development as a project manager (European projects and private lab projects). In 2018 she received a KAC Foundation scholarship regarding research in the THR field.
Florian Scheibein is a PhD Candidate studying "Novel Psychoactive Substance Injecting in Ireland: Practices, Health Implications and Service Utilisation". He currently helps teach a Substance Misuse module as part of the third year Psychiatric Nursing curriculum at the Waterford Institute of Technology. He is an active member of the International Working Group (IWG) of Youth RISE with whom he is currently working on 'law enforcement and youth' and general best practice guidelines. He recently helped develop a homeless support health needs guidebook/online health needs support library, and delivered harm reduction workshops whilst working as a Community Integration Officer for Depaul Ireland. Florian's full report will be available after publication.
Through the lens of THR4Life, a platform dedicated to giving vapers informed and valuable opinions and science regarding vaping and e-cigarettes, Lindsey is seeking to assess the success rates of several different alternatives to smoking-based nicotine consumption, including nicotine replacement therapies, heat-not-burn products and e-cigarettes. In order to achieve this goal, Lindsey is utilising an online questionnaire to determine several factors indicative of successful smoking cessation (with the aid of nicotine products other than smoked tobacco), methods used to quit smoking and length of time spent attempting to quit smoking, amongst a US population. Ideally THR4Life will also examine the longer term health effects of the use of reduced harm nicotine products.
In his research project, S Thangminlal Vaiphei hopes to evaluate and explore the nicotine acetylcholine receptor proteins within the human body to further discover if therapeutic drugs can be developed that target these nicotine binding sites, possibly paving the way for a pharmacological and therapeutic route for reducing nicotine dependence and addiction. This project will also enable the creation of tools for detection of tobacco toxicants and biomarkers to evaluate the possibilities of alternate nicotine delivery systems. Regular contact with his mentor, Professor Rajesh Sharan, has enabled the pace of the project to intensify, and Rajesh has given insightful knowledge for ways to improve the project.