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“No scholar shall take tobacco, unless permitted by the president, with the consent of their parents or guardians and on good reasons first given by a physician and then in a sober and private manner”.

Henry Dunster,
First President of Harvard College, (Lander, 1885).

Mission

The Center for Global Tobacco Control’s mission is to reduce the global burden of tobacco-related death and disease through training, research, and the translation of science into public health policies and programs.

Background

Established in July 2010, the Center replaced the former Tobacco Control Research Program which had operated in the Division of Public Health Practice since 2004. The Center’s director, Professor Gregory N. Connolly, is an internationally-recognized leader in tobacco control who led the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program for nearly two decades. The Program was based on changing social norms through tax increases, clean indoor air policies, mass media campaigns, cessation services, and community mobilization. The Massachusetts Program serves as a global model for tobacco control with over 100 scientific articles published on its effectiveness. The Program’s work resulted in a 60% decline in consumption in Massachusetts. Since 2004, we have brought together a highly-trained research staff to advance a robust agenda of well-funded research projects in tobacco control. The Center is well-poised to play a critical role to evaluate current tobacco control interventions and develop new interventions for the 21st Century.

Training

The Center is housed within the Department of Society, Human Development and Health (SHDH). Through the Department, we offer the following educational programs:

  • Formal masters of science degrees (ScM), masters of public health degrees (MPH), and doctoral degrees in public health (ScD/PhD). Students take a full range of courses in public health.
  • Through the Center, we also provide opportunities for practica, internships and paid employment in many research projects.
  • The Center currently offers the following courses.
  • The Center offers post-doctoral fellowship training in tobacco control for foreign students with the intent of establishing a tobacco control program in their respective university upon completion.

Research

The Center conducts research on a wide range of tobacco control and public health issues. A major theme is the identification of tobacco product characteristics that influence initiation of use, dependence, and disease outcomes. Our research explores how product design and performance characteristics interact with product messaging and marketing to influence consumer appeal, risk perceptions, ease of use, and dependence. We investigate conventional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and modified risk tobacco products. Our purpose is to contribute to a needed science base for effective tobacco product regulation in the US and abroad. We also maintain an active research program on secondhand smoke with a special focus on children’s health. This research, conducted in collaboration with our esteemed colleagues within the School’s Department of Environmental Health, is designed to understand the health implications of children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, health effects, population risks, and ways to reduce exposure. We also conduct research on the globalization of the tobacco industry and trade with the intent of informing policymakers in the governance of health and development.

Knowledge Translation and Global Collaboration

The Center collaborates with local municipalities, US states, federal agencies, and foreign governments to develop, implement, and evaluate tobacco control policies and programs through intensive, joint training, research, and policy and program development. We actively work with the governments to implement the recommendations of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), many of whose measures for public education, clean air policies, taxation, mass media campaigns, and monitoring and surveillance are based on the Massachusetts Program. We bring our practical experience and theoretical knowledge of tobacco control in our work with international partners.

We believe that the tobacco control landscape for the 21st Century is rapidly changing with the adoption of the FCTC, the globalization of the industry, and the regulation of tobacco products. As an academic center, we are committed to providing the evidence-based research needed to prevent an estimated one billion deaths from tobacco use in this century. We aim to help make smoking history throughout the world.