Research

Tobacco Research Facility

Brain Lab

The Tobacco and Human Smoking Facility is located near the main HSPH campus. The facility is equipped to perform basic tests on tobacco products and research with human subjects.  A list of specific areas of current research follows:

  • Cigarette physical design analysis (physical features, ventilation, pressure drop)
  • Cigarette ignition propensity (fire safe testing)
  • Human smoking topography
  • Collection of biomarker measures of human exposure to tobacco toxins
  • Secondhand smoke measurement and characterization
  • Air quality monitoring in public places
  • Assessment of consumer responses to products and messaging, using:
  • Cognitive interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Standard survey methods
  • Web-based surveys
  • GPS tracking for assessing location of public tobacco advertising within communities

Research studies conducted in the smoking facility have been supported by National Cancer Institute, American Legacy Foundation and the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute. Recent projects have included topography and exposure switching studies of potentially reduced exposure products and fire safer cigarettes, human hookah smoking research, ignition propensity (fire safer cigarette) testing, and human sensory testing of low sidestream emission cigarettes.

For additional information about the facility, please contact:

Dr. Vaughan Rees
vrees@hsph.harvard.edu

Tobacco Product Research

Testing Tobacco Products Promoted to Reduce Harm

The major goals of this project are to conduct a topography study of Massachusetts smokers, obtain measures of ignition propensity and thermal performance of cigarette brands, and finally, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of internal tobacco industry documents and patents related to cigarette ignition propensity.

Sponsor: Roswell Park Cancer Institute/NCI
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

Subjective and Behavioral Responses to PREP Design and Marketing

The objectives of this project are to examine the inter-relationships between PREP design and marketing and their effects on consumer response and acceptance, in order to evaluate the potential commercial impact of new and future PREPs.

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI)
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

Subjective and Behavioral Responses to PREP Design and Marketing

Administrative supplement for special research priority on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tobacco Product Regulation

This project aims to identify design and messaging factors that influence consumer acceptance of “Lights” cigarettes, using analysis of internal industry documents, a web survey of consumer perceptions of “Lights” pack descriptors and a switching study from high to low ventilated cigarettes.  Data will be used to provide the FDA with resources to inform the development of strategies to regulate package descriptors and physical design (filter ventilation) used by manufacturers to promote lowered risk perceptions among consumers of low tar tobacco products.

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI)
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

Design and Characterization of Cigarettes

The objectives of this product are to describe and evaluate the influence of cigarette brand characteristics and design features on individual uptake and use, market sales and population use.  This research will promote better understanding of the systems which impact tobacco use, and provide authorities such as FDA with strategies to regulate tobacco product design and marketing.

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI)
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

Second-Hand Smoke Research

Secondhand Smoke Measurement in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

The objective of this project is to conduct indoor air quality monitoring in public venues throughout the Eastern Mediterranean Region.  Reports and publications summarizing these results will then be disseminated throughout the region to help educate the public and legislators of the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke.

Sponsor: Action on Smoking and Health International
Principal Investigator: Dr. Vaughan Rees

Mass CONECT 4 Kids: Promoting Smoke-Free Homes

The major goal of this project is to design an intervention to protect high-risk children from involuntary second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure in domestic environments.  Using community-based participatory research, this initiative will evaluate the effectiveness of motivational intervention compared with usual best practices be having parents voluntarily adopt smoke-free home policies to protect children from SHS.

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health/National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NCMHD)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Vaughan Rees

Second-hand Smoke Emissions of Reduced Exposure Products (PREPS)

The major goals of this project are to evaluate PREPs using the following complimentary 4 approaches: 1) investigate tobacco industry research and development through internal documents and patents; 2) test PREP sidestream emissions; 3) test human subjects’ perceptions of the senroy qualities (odor, visibility and irritation) of PREP secondhand smoke; and 4) assess industry messaging through advertisements and websites.  The results of this work will help to develop strategies to ensure that public protection from toxic second-hand smoke is not undermined by these new “safer” products.

Sponsor: Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI)
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

Secondhand Smoke Exposure & Pediatric Illness

This study will be examining medical data that is national representative, consisting of approximately 200 million visits to physicians offices and outpatient departments, 17 million emergency department encounters, and 6 million hospitalizations.  The research team will investigate and seek to determine the extent to which lower SHS exposure among children due to home no-smoking rules and public smoking bans has decreased childhood illnesses and the health care services utilized to treat them.

Sponsor: Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI)
Principal Investigator: Hillel Alpert, ScM

International Tobacco Control Research Projects:

Behrakis Project for Making Smoking History in Greece: HEART (Hellenic Action through Research Against Tobacco)

The objectives of this project are to make smoking history in Greece through the collaboration of the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Panagiotis Behrakis of the Hellenic Anti-Cancer Society and the University of Athens, School of Medicine.  The long-term goals of the project are: 1) to have Greece adopt and successfully implement proven tobacco control policies, including taxation, clean indoor air laws, graphic warning on cigarette packs, and bans on tobacco advertising and promotions by implementing the FCTC and European Guidelines and 2) to have Greece fund comprehensive tobacco control programs, which include mass-media, youth education and empowerment, and smoking cessation services.

Sponsor: George D. Behrakis Foundation
Principal Investigators: Professor Gregory Connolly and Associate Professor Panagiotis Behrakis

PAST AWARDS

Impact of State, National, and International Clean Indoor Air Laws on the Economy and Health of Hospitality Workers

Sponsor: Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI)
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly

An Examination of the State Public Health Response to the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and the Structure and Marketing Practices of the Tobacco Industry

Sponsor: American Legacy Association
Principal Investigator: Professor Gregory Connolly