Tobacco is the world's main cause of avoidable poor health and early death. Around 8% of the world’s smokers live in lower and middle income countries. Our project focuses on three Asian middle income countries with smoking rates that are high and predicted to increase or remain stable: China Indonesia and the Philippines. Since most smoking starts in youth, it is crucial to prevent uptake in adolescence. This is challenging, but our research showed an intervention called ASSIST (A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial) was effective. ASSIST was developed and evaluated in an MRC-funded trial which took place in Wales and South West England in 2001. It is now recommended by the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellent (NICE) and implemented across the UK, supported by Evidence-To-Impact Ltd. ASSIST recruits 12 to 13 year olds who are influential among their school year group as ‘peer supporters’, to spread messages among their friendship networks via informal conversations about the risks of smoking and the benefits of not smoking.

The project was informed by the small grant scheme enabling groundwork and establishment of global network supported through funding by Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), details of which are found at this link.

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators


Professor Sharon Simpson. Professor of Behavioural Sciences and Health (MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit), University of Glasgow


Professor Laurence Moore. Director of the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit (MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit), Dr Kate Reid, Senior Lecturer, CR&DALL, School of Education, both University of Glasgow, Dr Sean Semple, University of Stirling, Sally Good, Director of Services, Evidence to Impact


International Collaboration with

Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, Peking University, Beijing, China

Department of Psychology, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

Start and End date

May 2022 – April 2025 (36 months)

Funder and Funding amount

Medical Research Council

Council Reference: MR/T040416/1

FEC £979,904.83

Related Publications

Original 2008 Paper

Campbell R, Starkey F, Holliday J, Audrey S, Bloor M, Parry-Langdon N, Hughes R, Moore L. An informal school-based peer-led intervention for smoking prevention in adolescence (ASSIST): a cluster randomised trial. Lancet. 2008 May 10;371(9624):1595-602. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60692-3. PMID: 18468543; PMCID: PMC2387195.