Ushering in a new field of study called tobacco regulatory research, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) funded its first 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science in 2013. Ten years later, David M. Murray, PhD, associate director of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Disease Prevention, highlighted TRSP’s decade of research discoveries—but reinforced the need for continued research and advocacy on tobacco use.

“A special kind of research is needed to help public health authorities keep up with the latest changes and trends in tobacco products,” he said. “That includes studying how these flavored tobacco products are attractively marketed to children and how quickly many started using them.”

From the more than 400 peer-reviewed studies funded through TRSP, Murray said that key findings include:

  • Menthol’s influence on smoking initiation, dependence, and quit rates
  • How manufacturers target marketing to Black and LGBTQ+ people, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and people with mental health challenges, contributing to unequal burdens of tobacco-related disease and widened health inequities

Murray also recognized how TRSP-funded research influences health policy. For example, advocates cited the research in supporting FDA-proposed rules to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars.

ONS is one of the strongest partners in the smoking cessation community. Working with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, provider groups, and FDA’s many departments, ONS and its oncology nurse advocates have made real progress to prevent smoking initiation and curtail tobacco use. But our advocacy must continue, especially surrounding the newer electronic delivery systems on the market. Learn how you can raise your voice to increase your community’s awareness of their adverse effects and help your local lawmakers understand the need for policies to regulate the products.