Linked Programmes


SCIMITAR-SA is an NIHR-funded project dedicated to investigating methods of treating tobacco dependence among individuals in South Asia with the most severe forms of mental illness.

Tobacco use among people with severe mental illness (SMI) results in greater health inequalities as well as reduced life expectancy. However, tobacco use largely remains unaddressed among people with severe mental illnesses, particularly among those who live in low-resource settings such as South Asia.

The project started on 1 July 2024 and will officially launch at an Inception meeting in November 2024. It is funded for 4 years.

The SCIMITAR-SA project aims to

  • adapt a smoking cessation intervention (SCIMITAR-SA) for people with SMI, which covers all forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan
  • design contextually tailored implementation strategies to deliver SCIMITAR-SA in mental health services in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
  • test the feasibility and effectiveness of this intervention delivered face-to-face or remotely to individuals with SMI in mental health settings
  • establish the cost-effectiveness of SCIMITAR-SA, estimate the costs of scaling up tobacco cessation services and understand the economic and health benefits of tobacco cessation for people with severe mental ill health
  • assess potential barriers to delivering the intervention to guide further adaptations and tailoring of implementation strategies

We will also build capacity in tobacco cessation and applied research in mental and physical multi-morbidity

Collaborating partners include:

  • University of York, UK
  • National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India
  • ARK Foundation, Bangladesh
  • Community Health Initiatives and Priorities (CHIP) foundation, India
  • Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning (PILL), Pakistan

The project builds on the experience of the SCIMITAR trials conducted in the UK, as well as learning from the NIHR-funded IMPACT programme, which delivered a feasibility trial of smoking cessation among people with SMI in South Asia.