Researchers get NIH funding to study tobacco policies, retail environment

Scientists at Stanford and two other universities have received a five-year, $11.6 million grant to conduct research on policies related to tobacco retail sales.

Researchers at the School of Medicine and collaborators at two other institutions will investigate tobacco policies and evaluate their effects on health across the United States.

Stanford University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Washington University in St. Louis jointly received a five-year, $11.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of an effort to reduce tobacco use, improve public health and provide evidence-based guidance for tobacco-related retail policies.

The new grant establishes a center, the Advancing Science & Practice in the Retail Environment Center, to enable a multidisciplinary team of investigators to identify important relationships between tobacco policy interventions, tobacco use and diseases at the population level.

Nearly $4 million of the grant will go to Stanford to fund two components of the center: a data/statistics core led by Manisha Desai, PhD, professor of medicine and of biomedical data science; and one of three integrated research projects, the Big City Tobacco Control Study, which will be led by Lisa Henriksen, PhD, senior research scientist, and Judith Prochaska, PhD, associate professor of medicine. Both are members of the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

The Stanford team will survey 2,400 adult smokers five times over 2.5 years and assess how the proximity of tobacco retailers affects smokers who are trying to quit. In addition, the Stanford team will monitor tobacco policy and tobacco use at a population level by analyzing retail sales data from 30 cities.

Researchers at UNC and Washington University will examine tobacco-retailer density and the rate of tobacco-related disease as well as how tobacco is marketed to different socioeconomic groups, and use computational modeling to study how best to address these public health problems with policy changes.



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