Skip to main content


Photo of Dr Hannah Farrimond

Dr Hannah Farrimond

BA, BSc, MSc, Dr

Senior Lecturer (Sociology)


01392 725128

Byrne House FF16

I study the social practices of legal substance use, such as tobacco/nicotine, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, in order to create greater visibility of 'hidden addictions' in policy and public spheres. Current projects include:
  • Covid-19, stigma and smoking
  • Tobacco harm reduction esp e-cigarettes/vaping
  • Stigma and public health 
  • Healthy ageing and addiction

Member of: Society for Study of Addiction, International Sociological Association

Most papers full text on ResearchGate and AcademicEdu.

To follow on Twitter: @FarrimondH

Publications (since 2016)

Farrimond, H. (2021) New pandemics, old politics by De Waal, LSE Book Review

Toller, L. & Farrimond, H. (in press) The unpredictable body, identity and disclosure: Identifying the strategies of chronically ill students at university, Disability Studies Quarterly.

Smith, G. & Farrimond, H. (2019) Active ageing, emotional care and the threat of stigma: Identity management in older adults using sleeping medication long-term, Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 23 (3): 255-272. 

Farrimond, H. & Abraham, C. (2018) Developing e-cigarette friendly smoking cessation services in England: staff perspectives, Harm Reduction Journal, 15 (1): 38. (open access)

Farrimond, H., Boyd, K. & Fleischer, D. (2018) Reconfiguring the violent encounter? Preloading, security staff and breathalyser use in the night-time economy. International Journal of Drug Policy, 56: 108-115.

Boyd, K., Farrimond, H., and Ralph, N. (2018) The impact of breathalysers on violence and attitudes in the Night-Time Economy, European Journal of Criminology (in press).

Farrimond, H. (2017) A typology of vaping: Identifying beliefs, motivations for use, identity and political interest amongst e-cigarette users, International Journal of Drug Policy, 48: 81-90.

Farrimond, H. (2017) The ethics of research, The Bera/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research, Eds: Dominic Wyse, Emma Smith, Larry E. Suter and Neil Selwyn. SAGE Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Wilkinson, K., Boyd, K., Pearson, M., Farrimond, H., Lang, I.A., Fleischer, D., Poole. A., Ralph, N., and Rappert, B. (2017) Making sense of evidence: Using research training to promote organisational change. Police Practice and Research.

Farrimond. H. (2016) E-cigarette regulation and policy: UK vapers' perspectives, Addiction, 111 (6): 1077-1083.

Carrieri, D., Farrimond, H., Kelly, S.E. and Turnpenny, P.D. (2016) Families dealing with the uncertainty of genetic disorders: the case of Neurofibromatosis Type 1, Sociology of Health and Illness, 38(5):753-67


ESRC IAA Project Co-creation Award, '#RU2Drunk? Evaluation of the roll-out of a breathalyser initiative to reduce alcohol-related violence in the South West, July-Dec '16, PI Hannah Farrimond and Katharine  Boyd, Collaborators Devon and Cornwall/Dorset Police Strategic Alliance, £19, 787.

Reframing stop smoking services in response to e-cigarette use: An exploratory stakeholder study', Cancer Research UK, PI Dr Hannah Farrimond, Collaborator Prof. Charles Abraham, 18 months, start March 2016, £43,000.

Police Knowledge Fund ExPERT (Exeter Policing, Evidence and Research Translation) Project, Start date Sept 2015, 18 months, Co-I, £249,450.

Q-Step Centre for Quantitative Methods at the University of Exeter (£1.2 million), start 2014 for five years, Academic Lead for SPA department

Richard Benjamin Trust, 2011, 15 months, 'Understandings of Type 2 diabetes in 'at risk' families'. PI.

Brocher Foundation, Geneva, 2010, 'New developments in non-invasive prenatal genetic testing: Ethical, legal and Social implications, a pluridisciplinary symposium, fully funded. Co-PI.

Research group links

Research interests

Covid-19 has reconfigured my research interests, particularly in relation to smoking and stigma. I have begun two strands of research:

Study One: Smoking and Covid-19: How do smokers make sense of contradictory evidence? 

PI: Dr Hannah Farrimond; Co-I: Dr Georgia Smith

Covid-19, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a respiratory killer. Clinicians assumed that smokers, with their already compromised respiratory systems, would be the first to succumb. However, the evidence has been counter-intuitive and contradictory. Lower numbers of smokers than expected have been hospitalized for Covid-19, although once hospitalized they can have more severe outcomes. Controversially, it has even been suggested that nicotine protects against getting Covid-19. How can smokers understand their Covid-19 risk amidst this contradictory evidence? This exploratory interview study, started in June 2020, seeks to provide insight into smokers/vapers decision-making around quitting smoking since Covid-19. What is driving them to #QuitforCorona, keep smoking or vape more? The findings will be situated within wider structural/social factors, not least public health campaigns such as #QuitforCovid and the motivations of Big Tobacco. The results will feed into national and international tobacco control policy on how to communicate with smokers about their risk of Covid-19.

This pilot project is currently funded by the Social Science and International Studies department research fund, University of Exeter, and supported by the Public Health England Tobacco Control SW regional lead (Russ Moody). If you are a smoker/vaper interested in taking part in a phone/online interview, please get in touch with myself ( or Georgia Smith (

Study Two: Covid-19 and stigma: Change over time

Extending my previous thinking about stigma, I am interested in tracking Covid-19 stigma over time. Some trends can be discerned. For example, familiar from previous epidemics, we can see the identification and projection of difference onto ‘Others’. Corona stigma is created, for example, through the pejorative labelling of the virus (e.g. the Chinese virus), projecting ‘disgusting’ or conspiracy origin stories onto whole ‘carrier’ groups, and blaming those returning home as ‘infecting from outside’. Counter-stigmatizing trends are also visible. Public figures, such as the actor Tom Hanks, followed by politicians, sportspeople and the royal family, have disclosed their corona status. In doing so, high status groups in the West may have converted ‘testing positive’ into shared rather than shamed behaviour. However, international divergence is already observed. It is too early to definitively understand Covid-19 stigma. As the pandemic progresses, and moral discourses concerning risk, controllability and blame intensify, I aim to track Covid-19 stigma as it changes over time, with a view to identifying how it is created, and how it can be challenged.

Non-Covid-19 research

My ongoing non-Covid-19 research continues to focus on a) legal addictions and their social meanings, especially alcohol, tobacco/vaping and pharmaceuticals and b) stigma, particularly how it transforms/changes over time, and the stigma of addictions including the role of public health in challenging or perpetuating stigma.


Research supervision


I am interested in supervising PhD's in the following areas:

  • Social practices of legal drug use esp smoking/vaping, alcohol and pharmaceuticals
  • Addiction in relation to legal and illegal drug use
  • Stigma and identity
  • Medicalization/pharmaceutlicalization
  • Qualitative/mixed methods/Q-methodology

Completed PhDs

2016-2020 Georgia Smith, 1 + 3 ESRC studentship, 'The Long Night: Framing Sleeping Medication Use in Later Life'

2015-2018. Hazel O'Brien, 'Being Mormon in Ireland: An ethnographic study of two Mormon communities in Ireland' 

2008-2011 Daniele Carrieri, 'Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1): Patients and Families Experiences and Health Care System Management of a Complex Genetic Syndrome’

Examined PhDs

2020 (external) Daniel Erku, University of Queensland, Australia 'Exploring the role of health professionals in communicating health messages about nicotine vaping products to smokers: A multiple methods approach'

2015 (internal) David Wyatt

2013 (internal) Louise Bezuidenhout

2012 (internal) Sally Wasmuth

Current PhDs

Louise Toller, 1 + 3 ESRC studentship, Social constructions of a liminal condition (M.E.) in young people. 

Rosanna Mead, Music sociology and dementia (with Tia De Nora)

Courtney Buckler 1 + 3 ESRC studentship. Evidence-based medicine as an ideological tool in psychiatric discourse.

Ana Lucia Estrada Jamarillo, The logics of care in congenital syphilis in Western Colombia, Colombian Government/UK collaborative funding


Research students

Current students: 

Louise Toller, 1 + 3 ESRC studentship on Narratives of liminality and identity in chronic health conditions in student populations.

Courtney Buckler, 1 + 3 ESRC studentship on The role of evidence-based practice discourses in medical training and practice.

Rosanna Mead, PhD candidate on An ethnography of music-making on dementia-friendly wards.

Ana Lucia Estrada Jamarillo, The logics of care in congenital syphilis in Western Colombia, Colombian government/UK funded.

External impact and engagement

ESRC IAA Project Co-creation Award, '#RU2Drunk? Evaluation of the roll-out of a breathalyser initiative to reduce alcohol-related violence in the South West, July-Dec '16, PI Hannah Farrimond and Katharine  Boyd, Collaborators Devon and Cornwall/Dorset Police Strategic Alliance, £19, 787.


My PhD in Psychology on 'Smoking Identities in Higher and Lower Socio-economic Groups in the UK' was awarded in 2007 by UCL. I then joined the University of Exeter as a research associate at EGENIS (Exeter Centre for the Study of Life Sciences), moving to a lecturer (2016), then senior lecturer post (2018). 

 Edit profile