ASSIST Global” is our shorthand for a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project called “Groundwork and preparation for a research study to adapt, develop and test the implementation effectiveness of ‘A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial’ (ASSIST) in low and middle income settings”.

This project aims to set up a small number of new, international research partnerships with colleagues from low and middle income countries to undertake research examining cross-cultural adaptions of ASSIST (A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial).

ASSIST is a theory-based secondary-school-based smoking prevention intervention that has been found to be effective and relatively inexpensive to implement and sustain in the UK.  In ASSIST, students nominated as influential by their peers are recruited and trained as ‘Peer Supporters’ to spread and sustain non-smoking norms through role-modelling and informal conversations. 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 NICE and implemented across the UK, supported by Evidence-To-Impact Ltd. One of the leaders of the original trial, Laurence Moore, is now Director of the University of Glasgow MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit and a collaborator on ASSIST Global.

The ASSIST model has significant potential to be effective in low and middle income countries, in which smoking rates are high and/or rising. Provided school systems are significantly developed and attendance high, the model has potential for relatively low-cost sustained effects.

What does the ASSIST Global project involve?

The project is running from October 2018 to June 2019. Activities include:

  • Desk-based work by University of Glasgow researchers to identify potential research partners.
  • Support for the research partners to conduct proposal scoping work to: (1) identify local delivery organisations, stakeholders and collaborators; and (2) further understand need, school context and potential facilitators/barriers to intervention. Support from the University of Glasgow includes a country visit to each partner.
  • A week-long Glasgow-based meeting for research partners to meet together, share learning from the scoping work and begin writing a proposal to fund a larger study to test the implementation of ASSIST in their countries.

What might ASSIST Global lead to?

ASSIST Global lays foundations for future GCRF-funded work to transfer the model to a range of low and middle income partner countries. Longer term, this work may seek to broaden to a ‘Health Ambassador’ model where anti-smoking peer supporters are subsequently trained to tackle other adolescent health issues in later school years and cascade training onwards to future ambassadors.


This project is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), grant reference SFC/AN/10/2018.



Helen Sweeting
Kirstin Mitchell
Carolyn Blake
Kate Reid

Research assistant

Julie Riddell

Internal collaborators

Laurence Moore
Lisa McDaid
Sharon Simpson
Danny Wight


Sally Good, Director of Services, Evidence To Impact

“ASSIST Global” project partners are based at:


for more information see MRC/CSO: ASSIST Global on the University of Glasgow main site.


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