The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have awarded the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (TCORS) $18.6 million to further research into tobacco product regulations.
The center is led by Kurt Ribisl, PhD, program leader of cancer prevention and control at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
UNC TCORS was launched at UNC Lineberger in 2013 and is one of seven institutions to receive a grant in the current round of funding by the FDA Center for Tobacco Products in partnership with the NIH. This is the third cohort of the multidisciplinary TCORS, which will continue the work of providing scientific studies that inform FDA’s regulatory authority for tobacco products.
UNC TCORS research
UNC TCORS currently has four active research projects:
Advancing Communication Science to Reduce Disparities in Young Adult Cigar Use
Led by Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH, Elizabeth and Oscar Goodwin Distinguished Professor and director of Tobacco Intervention Programs at the UNC School of Medicine (SOM), and Justin Byron, PhD, assistant professor in the SOM’s Department of Family Medicine and adjunct assistant professor in the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior.
Amplifying a Menthol Cigarette Ban’s Impact in Priority Populations with a Quit Smoking Campaign
Led by Marissa Hall, PhD, assistant professor of health behavior at the Gillings School and UNC Lineberger member, faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center, and Noel Brewer, PhD, Gillings Distinguished Professor in Public Health and UNC Lineberger member.
Understanding the Impact of Vaping Preventing Ads on Adolescents and Young Adults
Led by Seth Noar, PhD, Howard and McClean Parker Distinguished Professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and UNC Lineberger member, and Sarah Kowitt, PhD, assistant professor in the SOM’s Department of Family Medicine and UNC Lineberger member.
This integrated set of four research projects seeks to understand the impact of regulations and communication campaigns on people who are disadvantaged by tobacco use disparities, including Black, lower socioeconomic status, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations, as well as youth and young adults.
The center also is home to a Career Enhancement Core led by Goldstein and Shelley Golden, PhD, associate professor of health behavior and UNC Lineberger member. The core aims to train 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty.
This interdisciplinary project’s work on the successful grant proposal was supported by Krysta Gougler-Reeves, MSW, MPH, project director at UNC Lineberger.
“The theme of our UNC TCORS is building the science for effective regulation of and communication about tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigarillos that are disproportionately used by priority populations, such as lower income, Black and LGBT individuals and youth,” Ribisl said. “Tobacco products cause 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. The results from our UNC research projects will inform current and future FDA regulations that will reduce the amount of death and disability caused by tobacco products.”