Tobacco harm reduction

It has been known for a long time that the nicotine in tobacco smoke is the main reason that people often become addicted to tobacco smoking, but it is not the main cause of the many tobacco-related diseases that smokers develop.  These are caused by other toxins in the smoke.

Stopping smoking and nicotine use is the best way for smokers to reduce their health risk. However, switching from cigarettes to less harmful nicotine products can also provide large health benefits.

Researchers at the University of Queensland's School of Public Health are conducting research on tobacco harm reduction with the aim of better understanding how lower risk nicotine products could reduce the harm that is caused by tobacco smoking. The research also seeks to understand how health policy and regulation impacts both smoking and switching to a lower risk product.


Electronic cigarettes, or personal vaporisers, allow people to use nicotine with far fewer of the toxins that are in tobacco smoke. This makes them less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Some people also use these devices without nicotine as a replacement for cigarettes as they simulate some of the behavioural aspects of smoking, such as inhaling and exhaling a mist.

Participate in research on tobacco harm reduction

A number of research studies are planned to be conducted over the next few years. We are looking for current and former vapers to assist with this research. If you are willing to participate in research studies about vaping, please register your details here:

After registering, we will send you invitations to participate in research projects which you may be eligible for, when new studies start.

The International Tobacco and Vaping Policy Survey

The second survey of the International Tobacco and Vaping Policy Study is now open. If you participated in the baseline survey in 2016, you should receive a unique url link via email to complete the second second survey. Please check your bulk email folder if you do not see this email in your inbox.

If you did not complete the baseline survey, but would like to participate, please complete the registration survey at the following link:

If you have already registered and received a PIN for the survey, please use the URL emailed to you to re-access the survey.

Australians aged 18 and over who currently vape regularly (with or without nicotine) are invited to participate in the Australian arm of the International Tobacco and Vaping Policy Survey. Participant information can be viewed here. Participants who complete the second survey will be entered into a prize draw to be held on  26th July 2018.

The research will explore the impact of policies on tobacco use and vaping in four countries: the U.S., Canada, Australia and England. There is vigorous debate in public health communities and governments throughout the world about whether e-cigarettes will prove to have a net positive or negative impact on population health. This research is very important because many governments are currently developing regulations and policies about vaping.

This research will examine how different policies are likely to influence the use of e-cigarettes and smoked tobacco products, with the goal of understanding the population health impact of different policies and regulations.

Vaping Research Consumer and Community Advisory Committee (VRCCAC)

We are currently recruiting people who vape for the VRCCAC. The purpose of the committee is to provide a way for vapers to contribute to the design, conduct and reporting of research findings. It acknowledges the central role of community members and consumers in research and translation of research findings and seeks to build a partnership between health researchers at the University of Queensland and the vaping community. 

To find out about the VRCCAC, download the information sheet here.

Please complete the Expression of Interest form if you are interested in becoming a member of the VRCCAC.

For students, please browse our Student Opportunities.