Why Tobacco Use and Smoking Matter

Tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. According to the World Health organization, there are more than one billion smokers in the world today. In the 20th century alone, tobacco has caused 100 million deaths. If trends continue, tobacco will cause an estimated one billion deaths in the 21st century. Most of these deaths will be in developing countries, where 80% of today’s smokers live. Tobacco kills as many as half of all users and is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death around the world. Despite decades of work to reduce its use, tobacco continues to be a leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S.

Current Research

Reducing preventable deaths from tobacco use by promoting social, behavioral, environmental, policy and system change is a major focus at the Gillings School. UNC houses two of 14 new Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORs): the Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication and the Center for Tobacco Regulatory Science and Lung Health. The centers, funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, are designed to analyze and develop more effective tobacco product regulations for the U.S. that are now possible under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Additional Research in the Field of Tobacco Use and Smoking

Smoke-free air laws found to have no greater financial impact on small businesses than large ones

Nicotine alters gut microbiome differently in women, study finds

Study evaluates the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, finds it an effective smoking cessation program

Hookah smoking seen as emerging public health threat in Kurdish region of Iraq

Study finds that few adults are aware of the chemicals in cigarettes

Researchers identify widespread support for increasing the legal age of tobacco sales


Highlighted Leaders in the Field