Center for Tobacco Studies

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The Center for Tobacco Studies (CTS) includes the former Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Research Program (TSERP) which was first developed in 2000 to conduct a baseline assessment of tobacco use for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), and Trinkets & Trash, which is an online surveillance system and archive of tobacco products and tobacco industry marketing materials. We also have a strong collaborative working relationship with the Cancer Prevention & Control Research Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. 

The mission of the CTS is to enhance the evaluation and surveillance of tobacco control as well as industry initiatives and strategies, by conducting research studies, that include primary and secondary data collection and analysis and qualitative and quantitative methods, and to translate and disseminate findings to program planners and policy makers. We seek to advance the scientific base for tobacco surveillance and evaluation by conducting applied research of high quality, integrity, and innovation.

Goals

  • To evaluate tobacco control initiatives and strategies at the local, state, and national levels
  • To conduct tobacco monitoring and surveillance
  • To engage in methodological research to improve tobacco monitoring and surveillance
  • To translate and disseminate research findings to practitioners and policy makers

Historical Overview

The Center for Tobacco Studies has been in existence for nearly two decades, though it has operated under different names. Each name change signified a shift in focus. It was created in 2000 at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, and was then known as the Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Research Program (TSERP). Its primary mission was to serve as the independent evaluator of New Jersey’s Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program. Also operating within the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, was the Tobacco Dependence Program which delivered face-to-face, evidence-based tobacco treatment and provided continuing education in tobacco treatment for healthcare professionals. TSERP later expanded its population focus beyond New Jersey, and secured grants from NIH and the RWJ Foundation and the program was renamed the Center for Tobacco Surveillance & Evaluation Research (CTSER).

In 2009, Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA), giving the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products. CTS quickly capitalized on tobacco regulatory science research needs and secured FDA funding. Given its broader research portfolio, and coinciding with the UMDNJ-Rutgers integration, the Center was renamed the Center for Tobacco Studies in 2014 and assumed responsibility for SPH’s Tobacco Dependence Program. Lastly, in 2018 the Center for Tobacco Studies, in collaboration with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, recently became one of only nine Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science supported by FDA/NIH.

Since its inception, CTS has generated over $17 million in grants and cooperative agreements from NIH, CDC, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and $18 million in contracts from NJDOH, NIH, and FDA.  The Center has conducted over 25 New Jersey statewide surveys-reaching over 60,000 adolescents, 30,000 adults, 630 schools, 1,000 worksites, 2,500 health care providers, and 1,500 worksites.  The Center has produced 40 statewide reports and databriefs, presented 250+ scholarly presentations, and published 200+ papers.  We have treated 7,000 smokers in New Jersey and trained 3,000 clinicians as tobacco treatment specialists from 41 states and 11 countries.

Purpose and Mission

Globally, tobacco caused diseases kill 1 in 10 adults and such deaths are projected to exceed 8 million annually by 2030.  Tobacco use disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations. Domestically, high cigarette smoking rates persist among individuals who are economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and those with mental health and substance use disorders.  Globally, the tobacco industry aggressively targets women and youth in low and middle income countries to replace “lost revenue” from declining smoking rates in developed countries. Reducing the health burden from tobacco products requires a multi-disciplinary approach in research, treatment, training, service, and policy change.  Accordingly, the mission of the CTS is to reduce and ultimately eliminate, tobacco-related morbidity and mortality in New Jersey, the US, and globally.  We seek to do this via 1) research that informs interventions, regulations and policies; 2) the delivery of evidence-based tobacco treatment; 3) dissemination of research findings to key stakeholders; and 4) training of tobacco treatment providers and the next generation of tobacco control researchers.