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Understanding and controlling Australia's illicit tobacco market

Project summary

Research area
Economics, Health sciences, Law and legal studies, Psychology

Project description

This project aims to develop new regulatory options for tobacco to minimise the legal market while avoiding the adverse societal and economic impacts of transferring consumer demand to illegal tobacco products.

It addresses a significant current concern about a growing illegal tobacco market and seeks to improve understanding of the impact of tobacco control policies on the illegal market, and the societal impacts. The project also seeks to draw insights from illicit drug policy to understand potential consequences of greater restrictions on the legal tobacco market.

The expected outcomes include an enhanced monitoring system for illicit tobacco and policy recommendations to achieve government goals of reducing smoking rates.

Project objectives

  1. Quantify the social and economic impacts of the Australian illicit tobacco market and estimate the impacts of tobacco control policies on the size of illicit tobacco market.
  2. Develop regulatory models for tobacco that incorporate learnings from the regulation of illicit drugs.
  3. Develop a multi-component system to improve the monitoring of the illicit tobacco market.


This is an Earmarked scholarship project that aligns with a recently awarded Australian Government grant.

The scholarship includes:

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • your tuition fees covered
  • single overseas student health cover (OSHC).

Learn more about the Earmarked scholarship.


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis taking into account your:

  • academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

Working knowledge of tobacco control policy or illicit drugs policy would be beneficial.

You'll demonstrate academic achievement in economics, criminology, psychology or public health and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of illicit tobacco or tobacco control policy is highly desirable.

How to apply

This project requires candidates to commence no later than Research Quarter 3, 2025. To allow time for your application to be processed, we recommend applying no later than 31 March, 2025 31 December, 2024.

You can start in an earlier research quarter. See application dates.

Before you apply

  1. Check your eligibility for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
  2. Prepare your documentation.
  3. Contact Professor Coral Gartner ( to discuss your interest and suitability.

When you apply

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a PhD. You don’t need to submit a separate scholarship application.

In your application ensure that under the ‘Scholarships and collaborative study’ section you select:

  • My higher degree is not collaborative
  • I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship
  • UQ Earmarked Scholarship type.

Apply now