Dr Vaughan W. Rees

Director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Dr. Rees is Director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control, and Senior Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, USA. His research focuses on tobacco control, which entails strategies to address a public health epidemic projected to cause the deaths of one billion people in the 21st century, mostly from within developing countries.  Tobacco products are highly addictive, yet legal, and, in most parts of the world, abundantly available. As a public health field, tobacco control aims to reduce tobacco harms through evidence-informed policy and other interventions. Among the six classic “pillars” of tobacco control, five are represented in his published research, including tobacco cessation treatment strategies, strategies to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, regulation of product design and abuse liability, regulation of tobacco product marketing and messaging, and tobacco taxes. The multifaceted nature of tobacco control requires multidisciplinary approaches to research. Dr. Rees uses a diverse set of methodological approaches to generate evidence needed to develop effective public health solutions, including programs and policies aimed at reducing the health burden of tobacco use.

He directs the Tobacco Research Laboratory at the Harvard Chan School, where he conducts research to understand how tobacco manufacturers design their products to influence human use and dependence. This work has contributed directly to regulatory strategies in the U.S. and internationally. Other research by Dr. Rees focuses on reducing the burden of tobacco-related harm among underserved communities, with a focus on interventions to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure among children from low income and racially/ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Rees’ academic background is in health psychology (substance use and dependence), and he trained at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and did postdoctoral training through the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States.

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