Cheneal was awarded the UQ Early Career Researcher Grant for 2019, for the project Promoting referrals to a free and evidence-based smoking cessation program among smokers released from smoke-free prisons in Queensland. 

Approximately 74% of Australians entering smoke-free prisons are smokers, and while they are forced to quit smoking in prison due to smoking bans, Cheneal's PhD found that nearly all resume smoking upon release. People released from prison are eligible for a free smoking cessation program where they can receive free nicotine patches and behavioural counselling from Quitline, yet uptake of this service is negligible, representing a missed opportunity to improve the health of a marginalised population.

Researcher biography

Dr Cheneal Puljevic is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame. Her current research focuses on the drivers and deterrents of illicit tobacco use. Her other research interests include smoking cessation among disadvantaged populations, drug checking, alcohol-fuelled violence and substance use harm reduction.

Cheneal was previously employed as the Research Operations Manager for the Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (0.8FTE; 2021-2022) and as a Research Fellow (0.2FTE; 2018-2022) at the Centre for Health Services Research. In her Research Fellow role, she was the Program Manager for the Global Substance Use and Mental Health unit, where she conducted and managed a number of research projects related to substance use, including the Queensland evaluation of the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Policy (QUANTEM), a NIH-funded project on the impacts of roadside breath testing, and several projects using data from the Global Drug Survey. These projects covered a wide variety of topics, such as changes in alcohol and cannabis use following COVID-19 restrictions, perceptions of alcohol warning labels, cannabis use patterns, and patterns of methamphetamine "cooking". Her PhD focused on smoking cessation among people who have experienced incarceration. Following a number of publications from her PhD on this topic, she is the world's leading author on the topic of Prisons and Smoking Bans (SciVal, Jan 2023).

In 2022, Cheneal was awarded the School of Public Health's prize for the top performing Level B academic in a research-focused position. In 2020, Cheneal was awarded the Australasian Professional Society for Alcohol and Other Drugs (APSAD)'s Early Career Award. In 2019, Cheneal was awarded the Centre for Health Services Research's Outstanding Early Career Researcher award.

Cheneal has previously been employed as Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland, and as a Lecturer in the School of Public Health at The University of Queensland. She completed her PhD in 2018 at Griffith Criminology Institute at Griffith University, and completed an Honours degree in Psychology at the University of Cape Town in 2011.

Cheneal is available to supervise honours, Masters and HDR students on a variety of topics; please get in touch to discuss.