A new $18 million center grant awarded to Rutgers School of Public Health and University of Pennsylvania Researchers will allow them to take aim at the effects of tobacco marketing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have renewed their commitment to the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) program and awarded a second cohort (TCORS 2.0) of Centers. The grant will support research in the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The grant will help the Penn/Rutgers TCORS conduct work for the next five years, supporting research that will provide data to protect public health and inform regulatory science issues related to tobacco control.
The Center is focused on examining the effects of advertising, packaging, and labeling on perceptions, use, and exposure of combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigarillos. Rutgers researchers bring expertise in population surveillance and experimental survey methods, cigar policy, tobacco product risk perception, intentions, and use as well as tobacco industry advertising and marketing to better understand the impact of potentially misleading advertising claims, descriptors, labeling and packaging features of certain combustible tobacco products.
“The greatest contributor to tobacco caused disease is from cigarettes and other combustible products. Tobacco regulatory science can inform FDA on future steps that can reduce harm from the most dangerous tobacco products and have the greatest potential to improve public health. We’ve assembled a stellar team of collaborative researchers who have been deeply committed to tobacco regulatory science since the passage of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” said Dr. Cristine Delnevo, Director of the Center for Tobacco Studies at Rutgers School of Public Health, Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and principal investigator (PI), along with fellow-PI, Dr. Andrew Strasser,director of the Biobehavioral Smoking Laboratory at Penn’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction.
“Perceptions of risk and product expectations begin when individuals encounter product marketing and labeling. We are taking a comprehensive approach to better understand the arc from advertising and packaging of combustible tobacco products, through use patterns and exposure,” said Dr. Strasser.
The Center will focus on four primary projects and four cores, including:
Collaborators with Dr. Delnevo at the Rutgers School of Public Health include Drs. Olivia Wackowski and Jane Lewis. Additional Penn project and core leaders include Drs. Janet Audrain-McGovern and Melissa Mercincavage in psychiatry, and Dr. Joseph Cappella at the Annenberg School for Communication. The Penn-Rutgers TCORS will also collaborate with researchers at other institutions including, Columbia University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, University of Nevada-Reno and University of Vermont.