Tobacco Regulatory Science

HPRC Tobacco Regulatory Science

Regulatory science focuses on ensuring that scientifically valid techniques, tools, and models are available to evaluate products and, subsequently, to inform regulatory actions that promote optimal health outcomes (Hamburg, 2010; Norman, 2012).

The HPRC Regulatory Science Laboratory includes Clinical and Experimental laboratories.

The Clinical laboratory includes 4 negative pressure rooms and 2 control rooms for conducting clinical human laboratory research. The control rooms allow for continuous monitoring of participants and are equipped with video capabilities. The clinical laboratory is equipped with diverse topography registries (e.g., e-cig, tobacco, hookah) for use in lab as well as in field research. Routine collection of exhaled breath, saliva, blood, urine, and buccal samples provides support for diverse FDA and NIH supported grants and assures that scientifically valid tools are used to inform regulatory actions.

The HPRC Experimental Laboratory, adjacent to the Clinical laboratory, supports the processing, analysis, and storage of biological samples collected at the Clinical Laboratory. Analysis performed at this laboratory include CO, nicotine, and cotinine measurements, and verification of drug use abstinence. Over 3,000 samples were processed at this state-of-the-art laboratory in FY22. After initial validation, samples stored at the HPRC Experimental Laboratory can be distributed to diverse other experimental laboratories for studies such as DNA damage and mutation analysis, RNA sequencing, gene and protein expression, and inflammation studies.

Click the links below to learn more about current tobacco regulatory research at HPRC:

Dr. Lurdes Queimado examines the health effects of traditional and emerging tobacco products using a broad combination of biological tools, including a novel DNA damage assay (q-PADDA) developed in her laboratory.

Dr. Amy Cohn examines the effects of menthol-flavored tobacco products and low nicotine cigarettes on addiction outcomes.

Dr. Evan Floyd examines product design characteristics and standards.

Dr. Amanda Kong investigates the role of the tobacco retailer environment on tobacco use and tobacco-related health outcomes, and she critically examines the potential for tobacco control policies to eliminate or unintentionally exacerbate racialized and socioeconomic health inequities.

Dr. Jason Oliver examines novel pharmacological, behavioral, and technology-based interventions for tobacco use, as well as how the tobacco regulatory environment contributes to the etiology of nicotine dependence.

Dr. Erin Vogel examines the effects of tobacco-related social media content and marketing claims on young people's perceptions of and intentions to use tobacco products.

E-Cigarettes and Other Emerging Tobacco Products

While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has declined drastically, particularly in the last decade, studies show an increase in the use of e-cigarettes and other emerging tobacco products, like little cigars/cigarillos and hookah, particularly in younger age groups. The HPRC conducts groundbreaking research to help inform tobacco regulatory science on a broad range of issues related to the appeal, use and health effects of e-cigarettes and other emerging tobacco products among youth, young adults, and vulnerable populations including minorities and pregnant women.

Flavored Tobacco Products

Flavored tobacco use has become increasingly popular with the rising popularity of e-cigarettes and alternative tobacco products. While characterizing flavors have been banned from cigarettes, menthol flavoring is still available in cigarettes. Most recently, characterizing flavors have been banned in certain types of e-cigarettes, or electronic nicotine delivery devices; with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavoring. The HPRC is engaging in a variety of research studies and secondary analyses of data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study designed to understand reasons for appeal for flavored tobacco productsmenthol cigarette smoking (particularly in youth and young adults), and smoking and tobacco use outcomes associated with flavored tobacco and menthol cigarette smoking.

Tobacco Industry Interference and Deception

The HPRC Tobacco Industry Interference and Deception Exposed, or "TIIDE" study, seeks to determine the impact of efforts by tobacco companies to defeat effective tobacco control policy and promote ineffective policy of their own design. The TIIDE study also examines changes in policy-related awareness and attitudes after exposure to court-ordered "corrective statements" now being published by major U.S. tobacco companies. 

Key findings from the TIIDE study are presented in the following articles and reports: