October 11, 2023
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, Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, who also serves as program leader of cancer prevention and control at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC). Interdisciplinary work on the successful grant proposal received key support from Krysta Gougler-Reeves, MSW, MPH, project director at LCCC.
UNC TCORS is one of seven institutions by the FDA Center for Tobacco Products in partnership with the NIH as part of 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, which has been in operation since 2013, currently has four research projects doing just that.
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, faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center and LCCC member, and Noel Brewer, PhD, Gillings Distinguished Professor in Public Health and LCCC member.
Modeling the Public Health Impact of a Flavored Cigar Ban
Led by Sarah Mills, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and LCCC member, and Kristen Hassmiller Lich, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at UNC Gillings.
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 LCCC member, and Sarah Kowitt, PhD, assistant professor in the SOM’s Department of Family Medicine and a member of LCCC.
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. The core aims to train 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty.
“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 says. “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.”
Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.