In all case studies explored in this study, researchers observed “significant” (28%–100%) stove stacking with traditional cooking methods. Various reasons for this include costs of clean fuel, mismatches between cooking technologies and household needs and unreliable fuel supply.

This study proposes that clean cooking programmes should emphasize the discontinuation of traditional stove use, not solely the adoption of cleaner stoves and fuels. Future energy policies and programmes should acknowledge the commonality of stacking and incorporate strategies at the design stage to help transition away from polluting stoves and fuels.

The seven principles for clean cooking programme design and policy presented here focus on a shift toward “cleaner stacking” that could yield household air pollution reductions approaching WHO targets.