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Research Faculty

Derek Yee Tak CHEUNG

Dr Derek Cheung is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). He received his Bachelor of Social Sciences (Major in Statistics) and M.Phil. from HKU; and Ph.D. from the Melbourne School of Population Health in the University of Melbourne. 

Before joining the School of Nursing, he has received post-doctoral training in the School of Public Health of HKU, where he studied the effectiveness of various smoking cessation interventions including medication, counseling, brief advice, financial incentives and social media. He is experienced in designing and conducting randomized controlled trials in various community and clinical settings. He is currently the key investigator of several tobacco-related projects including opinion survey on tobacco control policy, use of smartphone Apps and exercise for smoking cessation, health promotion at smoking hotspots, and physician-delivered smoking cessation advice in the Guangdong province of China.

His research interests also include suicidal epidemiology and spatial analysis. His PhD thesis looked into the spatial-temporal clustering of suicides in Australia, suicide hotspots and the associated factors. He is now studying youth risk behaviors including non-suicidal self-harm, suicidal behaviour and substance use with in-school survey data. He has published more than 31 articles in peer-reviewed journals including The Journal of Pediatrics, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Social Science and Medicine, and Addictive Behavior.

  1. Smoking cessation trial
  2. Tobacco control policy
  3. E-health intervention
  4. Mental health and suicidal behavior 
Funding Scheme Project Title Approved Amount (HK$)
Seed Fund for Basic Research, HKU Ecological momentary assessment for the exposure to alcohol advertisements in university students 111,050
Health Care and Promotion Scheme Use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) sample and brief smoking cessation advice for recruiting smokers to smoking cessation services and motivating quit attempts 1,200,000
Health and Medical Research Fund Effectiveness of WhatsApp online group discussion for smoking relapse prevention: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial 967,620
Seed Fund for Basic Research, HKU Ecological momentary assessments for the evaluation of tobacco health warnings, point-of-sale tobacco displays and smoking hotspots: a pilot study 150,000
Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Efficacy of a short-bout handgrip exercise intervention for smoking cessation: a pilot randomized controlled trial 500,000
Small Project Funding, HKU Motivating smokers in smoking hotspots to have quit attempt through nicotine replacement therapy sampling: A randomized controlled trial 24,019
Health Care and Promotion Fund Promotion and brief intervention of smoking cessation at the smoking hotspots 492,000
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health An Evaluation on Smoke-free Youth Ambassador Leadership Training Programme 60,000
  1. Cheung Y.T.D., Chan C.H.H., Wang M.P., Li H.C.W., Lam T.H. Online social support for the prevention of smoking relapse: A content analysis of the WhatsApp and Facebook social groups. Telemedicine and e-health. In press.
  2. Chan S.S.C., Cheung Y.T.D., Wan Z., Wang M.P., Lam T.H. Proactive and Brief Smoking Cessation Intervention for Smokers at Outdoor Smoking “Hotspots” in Hong Kong. Journal of Cancer Education. In press.
  3. Chan S.S.C., Cheung Y.T.D., Fong D.Y.T., Emmons K., Leung A.Y.M., Leung D.Y.P. & Lam T.H. Family-based smoking cessation intervention for smoking fathers and non-smoking mothers with a child: A randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2017; 182: 260-266.
  4. Cheung Y.T.D., Wang M.P., Li H.C.W., Kwong A., Lai V., Chan S.S.C., Lam T.H. Effectiveness of a small cash incentive on abstinence and use of cessation aids for adult smokers: A randomized controlled trial. Addictive Behavior. 2017; 66: 17-25.
  5. Cheung Y.T.D., Leung K.J.P., Cheung C.K.C., Li W.H.C., Wang M.P., Lam T.H. Motivating smokers at outdoor public smoking hotspots to have a quit attempt with a nicotine replacement therapy sample: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2016; 17(1):1-8.
  6. Pirkis J., Krysinska K., Cheung Y.T.D., Lay S.T., Spittal M.J. & Robinson J. “Hotspots” and “copycats”: a plea for more thoughtful language about suicide – Authors' reply, Lancet Psychiatry. 2016; 3(1):20.
  7. Cheung Y.T.D., Chan C.H.H., Lai C.K.J., Chan W.F.V., Wang M.P., Li H.C.W. & Lam T.H. Using WhatsApp and Facebook Online Social Groups for Smoking Relapse Prevention for Recent Quitters: A Pilot Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2015; 17(10):e238.
  8. Chan S.S.C., Wong D.C.N., Cheung Y.T.D., Leung D.Y.P., Lau. L., Lai V. & Lam T.H. A block randomized controlled trial of a brief smoking cessation counseling and advice through short message service on participants who joined the Quit to Win Contest in Hong Kong, Health Education Research. 2015; 30(4): 609-621.
  9. Lam T.H., Cheung Y.T.D., Leung D.Y.P., Abdullah A.S.H., Chan S.S.C. Effectiveness of smoking reduction intervention for hardcore smokers, Tobacco Induced Diseases. 2015; 13(1): 9.
  10. Pirkis J., Too L.S., Spittal M.J., Krysinska K., Robinson J. & Cheung Y.T.D. Interventions to reduce suicides at suicide hotspots: A meta-analysis, Lancet Psychiatry. 2015; 2(11): 994-1001.


  • 2019

Awarded the "Excellent Health Promotion Project Award" by the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF), Food and Health Bureau

  • 2015

Awarded the best poster award in The 6th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum, School of Nursing, the University of Hong Kong