Committees & Initiatives

TReND Issues International Call for Papers on the Role of Social Stratification in Global Tobacco-Related Inequalities. The Tobacco Research Network on Disparities (TReND) was created by the National Cancer Institute and the Legacy Foundation to increase our understanding and address tobacco-related health disparities by advancing the science, translating that scientific knowledge into practice, and informing public policy. On March 8, 2009, TReND held a pre-conference workshop at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) titled, “Research to Reduce Tobacco-Related Inequalities: Worldwide Implications for and Exemplars of Tobacco Control,” in Mumbai, India. As follow-up to the workshop, TReND is working with Cancer Causes and Control(http://www.springer.com/biomed/cancer/journal/10552) to issue an international call for papers to further address the role of social stratification in tobacco-related inequalities. The editorial team is led by Drs. Eliseo Perez-Stable (University of California, San Francisco) and K. “Vish” Viswanath (Harvard School of Public Health). Dr. Viswanath is also a member of TReND’s steering committee. Please visit the TReND (http://www.tobaccodisparities.org) website to learn more about the research questions and submission instructions. Initial manuscript submissions are due April 18, 2011.

SHDH’s Center for Global Tobacco Control hosts the First Pan-Hellenic Conference on Tobacco Control in Athens. SHDH’s Center for Global Tobacco Control hosted the first Pan-Hellenic Conference on Tobacco Control in Athens in December 2010. The conference was part of the school’s HEART project (Hellenic Action for Research Against Tobacco), a three-year program aimed at eradicating smoking in Greece that is supported by George D. Behrakis. More than 600 people from Greece, the United States and the Eastern Mediterranean took part, including policy makers, educators, scientists, public health workers, military personnel and students. The smoking ban in public places began September 1 but has met opposition, especially from café and restaurant owners who claim they are losing business because of the ban. This has led to a slow response by municipal officials to enforce the ban or fine offenders, the Associated Press reported. Previous attempts at enforcing a smoking ban also have failed in the past several decades.

Greg Connolly, the principal investigator of the HSPH HEART Project, said that if the current rate of smoking in Greece – 40 percent of adults, the highest rate in the world – is passed down to the next generation, of all the Greek children alive today, more than 300,000 will be killed prematurely from cigarettes. Greece also had the longest life expectancy in Europe 30 year ago but has now fallen to 13th in that ranking, due mainly to smoking, said Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Academy of Athens member. The smoking ban is only part of a multi-faceted approach to make Greece number 1 in ensuring public health.

“Enforcing smoke-free public places is our first step.” Monique Bertic of the HSPH HEART Project said. “We will use a comprehensive approach focused on the local level that encourages smoke-free policies in schools, homes, businesses, and hospitals.”

Creating a comprehensive plan and kicking off the annual conference were some of the HEART project’s year one goals. Now in its second year, those involved with the project will adapt anti-smoking education materials and mass media campaigns from other countries for Greek schools, as well as train teachers and municipal workers to create smoke-free environments. The third year of the HEART program will focus on integration of smoke-free environments for smokers to quit, preventing children from buying cigarettes, continued efforts to make Greece smoke-free, and research/policy efforts to prevent the premature death of 300,000 premature deaths of the nation’s youth.

Greek officials at the conference also met with public health officials from the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, who shared their successful approaches to smoking cessation in sessions before and after the conference. This conference represented a major step forward in developing a strategy for tobacco control in the Eastern Mediterranean.

From left to right: Dr. Panagiotis Behrakis, Associate Professor, HSPH and University of Athens; Professor Dimitrios Trichopoulos, HSPH and University of Athens; Mr. George Behrakis; Professor Gregory Connolly, HSPH