ASTRA’s programme of activities encompasses five research studies.
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How many young people in South Asia use Smokeless Tobacco? What makes them start using it? Can we convince them to stop, or not to start in the first place?
The purpose of the ASTRA-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 are conducting surveys of adolescents (aged between 13 and 17 years), in two administrative areas in each country. We are 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.
How and where is ST sold in South Asia? Are the FCTC rules about tobacco sales being followed?
The purpose of the ASTRA-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 are also identifying 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 are surveying local shops that sell ST, and interviewing shopkeepers and their suppliers about how FCTC policies affect their business.
How can we help adult ST users to quit their habit?
The purpose of the ASTRA-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 are testing the interventions for feasibility and cultural acceptability, and assessing whether further full-scale trials to estimate effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) could be carried out.
What is the economic cost of smokeless tobacco use in South Asia?
The purpose of the ASTRA-Economics study is to estimate the economic costs 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 is being used.
What are the policy gaps preventing tobacco control rules being applied to smokeless tobacco?
The ASTRA-Policy team are conducting a systematic review to identify ST control policies and understand how the FCTC rules are applied to ST.