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  MARCH 15, 2013
Nebraska Researcher Awarded $1.4 Million from NCI-NIH to Study Smoking Cessation

Dr. Mohammad Siahpush, professor of health promotion, social and behavioral health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, was awarded $1.4 million by the National Cancer Institute to examine the effect of point-of-sale tobacco marketing on smoking cessation. Dr. Siahpush’s research team includes co-investigators from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Medical University of South Carolina, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Cancer Council Victoria in Australia.

While smoking causes over 443,000 deaths annually, it remains one of the most heavily marketed products in the Unites States. By far, most of the marketing efforts of the tobacco industry occur at the point-of-sale (POS), i.e., at retail stores where tobacco is sold. There are no empirical studies in the United States on the effect of POS tobacco marketing on smoking cessation. The broad, long-term objective of this proposal is to contribute to the knowledge of how tobacco control policies, such as POS marketing regulations, affect smoking behavior and thus to produce the required evidence base that can guide future policies.

Study participants will be recruited through random digit dialing of landline telephone and cell phone numbers and interviewed at baseline and a six-month follow-up. At baseline, data on POS tobacco marketing will be collected from stores that sell tobacco in each participant’s neighborhood. Also at baseline, data will be collected from each participant about noticing POS marketing, craving to smoke, urge to buy cigarettes, unplanned purchase of cigarettes, and the perception of social acceptability of smoking. At the six-month follow-up, quit attempts in the previous six months and quit success will be assessed.

This study is especially important in the wake of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco marketing and preserves state and local authority to enact tobacco marketing laws. The study aims to fill a gap in knowledge of how POS tobacco marketing affects smoking cessation, which may assist the FDA and state and local jurisdictions in formulating future tobacco marketing regulations.

[Photo:  Dr. Mohammad Siahpush]