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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Rutgers Tobacco Cessation and Tobacco Control Initiatives and Research

The Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies (CTS) was established in 2000 with funding from the New Jersey Department of Health to conduct a baseline assessment of tobacco use in New Jersey. Since then, under the direction of Dr. Cristine Delnevo, interim dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, the Center has grown, remaining on the forefront of the evolving landscape of tobacco control and prevention. The Center has conducted projects on a variety of tobacco-related topics including, but not limited to, flavored cigars, tobacco warning statements, tobacco industry marketing, and e-cigarettes.

Dr. Delnevo’s recent research has examined the cigar market as well as ways to improve tobacco surveillance methods. In a recent study authored by Dr. Delnevo, she found that cigar companies take advantage of features recently banned for cigarettes, such as flavorings and small pack sizes, to maintain strong sales. Her work has important implications for how FDA and other governing bodies may regulate the manufacturing and promotion of cigars in the future.

Current research by Dr. Olivia Wackowski, assistant professor and member of CTS, has examined risk perception of e-cigarettes. A recent study with CTS collaborators found that e-cigarette risk messages influenced the perception of the product and whether or not individuals perceived it as more or less harmful compared to traditional tobacco products.

CTS has also conducted seminal work examining tobacco marketing practices. Trinkets & Trash, an online surveillance system and archive of tobacco products and tobacco industry marketing materials, is housed within CTS. Dr. Jane Lewis, associate professor and director of Trinkets & Trash, led the first study using internal tobacco industry documents to examine direct mail marketing of tobacco products to consumers. She found that direct mail marketing provides flexibility, efficiency, and the unique ability to deliver messages to a targeted group of individuals, while limiting visibility to tobacco control, public health, and regulators.

CTS’ newest faculty member, Mr. Marin Kurti, focuses his research on criminal justice and tobacco control, specifically studying all facets of the illegal cigarette market in the U.S., particularly in the New York metro area.

CTS is continuously collaborating with researchers and other research institutions to advance the scientific base for tobacco surveillance and evaluation by conducting applied research of high quality, integrity, and innovation. Adjunct faculty members Dr. Daniel Giovenco, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University School of Public Health, and Dr. Daniel Gunderson, senior research scientist and survey methodologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, also collaborate and conduct research with CTS. CTS maintains a strong relationship with the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. In addition, the CTS is one of eight scientific partners in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a large nationally representative study designed to examine tobacco use behaviors and health in the U.S. In addition to its research portfolio, CTS is committed to public health practice and education. CTS faculty assist the Rutgers Tobacco Dependence Program in conducting its five-day intensive ATTUD-accredited Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Trainings.

The work conducted by CTS and collaborating partners sheds light on tobacco industry efforts that can undermine tobacco policy and cessation interventions and thus, has the potential to improve future tobacco regulatory and cessation strategies.

To learn more about the Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies, visit: http://sph.rutgers.edu/centers_institutes/tobacco_studies/index.html

To learn more about Trinkets & Trash, visit: https://trinketsandtrash.org/

To learn more about the Tobacco Dependence Program, visit: http://www.tobaccoprogram.org/