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Living Well – researcher spotlight

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills more than seven million people each year, with the majority of tobacco-related deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. Professor Linda Bauld, Director of the Institute of Social Marketing and Dean of Research Impact, leads a team of researchers dedicated to reducing these figures.

Professor Linda Bauld

Smoking kills more people every year than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. As smoking dwindles to a minority activity in the UK, the number of smokers is still increasing elsewhere. By 2030, it’s predicted that more than 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths will occur in low and middle income countries. The tobacco epidemic was created in the developed world, where smoking rates sky-rocketed in previous decades. It took us many years to work out how to bring them down, through research, advocacy, communicating health risks, and introducing evidence-based policies.

Professor Linda Bauld, Director of the Institute of Social Marketing and Dean of Research Impact

infographic: £3.4 million research

£3.4 million research

supported by Global Challenges Research Fund

Making an impact

Professor Bauld and her team currently work with researchers in India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Ghana to offer training and research support. Their four-year, multi-disciplinary project is part of one of the most ambitious international research programmes ever created, with £225 million invested across 37 interdisciplinary projects.

International partnerships

As part of the Global Challenges Research Fund, the University of Stirling – along with six universities from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, eight overseas partners and Cancer Research UK – has been awarded a £3.4 million grant to reduce tobacco-related harm in less affluent countries.

Professor Bauld and her team aim to bring down smoking rates by conducting research to inform tobacco taxation, tackle the illicit trade of tobacco and negate the efforts of tobacco companies’ who undermine governments’ attempts to reduce smoking.

“We are delighted that the Institute of Social Marketing, as part of the multi-UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, has the opportunity to lead this new research. The work we are doing is helping to combat one of the world’s biggest preventable causes of death and aims to make a real difference to global health,” says Professor Bauld.

Collaboration close to home

Professor Bauld, who is also the Cancer Research UK Prevention Champion, works closely with PhD and postdoctoral researchers at Stirling, and draws on the expertise of her colleagues within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport.

“At the Institute of Social Marketing, we have an active team of 27 researchers including postdoctoral scholars and PhD students. We couldn’t do our research without the energy and enthusiasm that these colleagues bring. Our wide range of studies provide ideal opportunities for research training and capacity building, not just on tobacco control, but across a range of studies aiming to prevent chronic disease like cancer.”

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