David Abrams

David Abrams
David Abrams

Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Professional overview

Dr. David Abrams' career focuses on systems and social learning frameworks to inform population health enhancement. He has experience in testing theory, research design, measuring mechanisms of behavior change and outcome, and evaluating clinical trials (behavioral and pharmacological). His interests span topics from basic bio-behavioral mechanisms and clinical treatments to policy across risk factors and behaviors (e.g. tobacco/nicotine; alcohol, obesity, co-morbidity of medical and mental health), disease states (cancer; cardiovascular; HIV-AIDS), levels (biological, individual, organizational, worksite, community, global, and internet based), populations and disparities. His interests converge in the domain of implementation science to cost-efficiently inform evidence-based public health practice and policymaking.

Through transdisciplinary and translational research strategies, Dr. Abrams provides scientific leadership in tobacco control. His current focus is in strengthening global and United States tobacco and nicotine management strategies. Deaths of 1 billion smokers are estimated by 2100 caused overwhelmingly by use of combustible (smoked) tobacco products, not nicotine. Harm minimization is a key overarching systems strategy to speed the net public health benefit of emergent disruptive technologies for cleaner nicotine delivery. The goal is more rapid elimination of preventable deaths, disease burdens, and the widening gap in health disparities driven disproportionately by disparities in smoking.

Dr. Abrams was a professor and founding director of the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown University Medical School. He then directed the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Until 2017, he was Professor of Health Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the founding Executive Director of the Schroeder National Institute of Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative (formerly the American Legacy Foundation).

Dr. Abrams has published over 250 peer reviewed scholarly articles and been a Principal Investigator on numerous NIH grants. He is lead author of The Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook: A Guide to Best Practices. He has served on expert panels at NIH and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on Obesity, Alcohol Misuse and Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation. He has also served on the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute (NIH-NCI) and was President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

For a complete list of Dr. Abrams' published work, click here.

Education

BSc (Hons), Psychology and Computer Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
MS, Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
PhD, Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI

Honors and awards

Research Laureate Award, American Academy of Health Behavior (2014)
Joseph W. Cullen Memorial Award for Tobacco Research, American Society for Preventive Oncology (2008)
Distinguished Alumni Award: Rutgers University, The Graduate School, New Brunswick, NJ (2007)
The Musiker-Miranda Distinguished Service Award, American Psychological Association (2006)
Distinguished Service Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine (2006)
Outstanding Research Mentor Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine (2006)
Book of the Year Award: Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook. American Journal of Nursing (2005)
Distinguished Scientist Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine (1998)

Areas of research and study

Behavioral Science
Chronic Diseases
Evaluations
Population Health
Public Health Pedagogy
Public Health Systems
Research Design
Systems Integration
Systems Interventions
Tobacco Control

Publications

Publications

How do we determine the impact of e-cigarettes on cigarette smoking cessation or reduction? Review and recommendations for answering the research question with scientific rigor

Villanti, A. C., Feirman, S. P., Niaura, R. S., Pearson, J. L., Glasser, A. M., Collins, L. K., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Addiction

Volume

113

Issue

3

Page(s)

391-404
Abstract
Aims: To propose a hierarchy of methodological criteria to consider when determining whether a study provides sufficient information to answer the question of whether e-cigarettes can facilitate cigarette smoking cessation or reduction. Design: A PubMed search to 1 February 2017 was conducted of all studies related to e-cigarettes and smoking cessation or reduction. Settings: Australia, Europe, Iran, Korea, New Zealand and the United States. Participants and studies: 91 articles. Measurements: Coders organized studies according to six proposed methodological criteria: (1) examines outcome of interest (cigarette abstinence or reduction), (2) assesses e-cigarette use for cessation as exposure of interest, (3) employs appropriate control/comparison groups, (4) ensures that measurement of exposure precedes the outcome, (5) evaluates dose and duration of the exposure and (6) evaluates the type and quality of the e-cigarette used. Findings: Twenty-four papers did not examine the outcomes of interest. Forty did not assess the specific reason for e-cigarette use as an exposure of interest. Twenty papers did not employ prospective study designs with appropriate comparison groups. The few observational studies meeting some of the criteria (duration, type, use for cessation) triangulated with findings from three randomized trials to suggest that e-cigarettes can help adult smokers quit or reduce cigarette smoking. Conclusions: Only a small proportion of studies seeking to address the effect of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation or reduction meet a set of proposed quality standards. Those that do are consistent with randomized controlled trial evidence in suggesting that e-cigarettes can help with smoking cessation or reduction.

Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes

Levy, D. T., Borland, R., Lindblom, E. N., Goniewicz, M. L., Meza, R., Holford, T. R., Yuan, Z., Luo, Y., O’Connor, R. J., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Tobacco Control

Volume

27

Issue

1

Page(s)

18-25
Abstract
Introduction US tobacco control policies to reduce cigarette use have been effective, but their impact has been relatively slow. This study considers a strategy of switching cigarette smokers to e-cigarette use (’vaping’) in the USA to accelerate tobacco control progress. Methods A Status Quo Scenario, developed to project smoking rates and health outcomes in the absence of vaping, is compared with Substitution models, whereby cigarette use is largely replaced by vaping over a 10-year period. We test an Optimistic and a Pessimistic Scenario, differing in terms of the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with cigarettes and the impact on overall initiation, cessation and switching. Projected mortality outcomes by age and sex under the Status Quo and E-Cigarette Substitution Scenarios are compared from 2016 to 2100 to determine public health impacts. Findings Compared with the Status Quo, replacement of cigarette by e-cigarette use over a 10-year period yields 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost in the Optimistic Scenario. Under the Pessimistic Scenario, 1.6 million premature deaths are averted with 20.8 million fewer life years lost. The largest gains are among younger cohorts, with a 0.5 gain in average life expectancy projected for the age 15 years cohort in 2016. Conclusions The tobacco control community has been divided regarding the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco control. Our projections show that a strategy of replacing cigarette smoking with vaping would yield substantial life year gains, even under pessimistic assumptions regarding cessation, initiation and relative harm.

Preventing Smoking Progression in Young Adults: the Concept of Prevescalation

Villanti, A. C., Niaura, R. S., Abrams, D. B., & Mermelstein, R.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Prevention Science

Page(s)

1-8
Abstract
As adolescents cross the threshold to young adulthood, they encounter more opportunities to engage in or accelerate previously discouraged or prohibited behaviors. Young adults, therefore, are more apt to initiate cigarette smoking and, more importantly, to accelerate their use if they tried and experimented as an adolescent. Preventing the escalation and entrenchment of smoking in the young adult years is critically important to reducing tobacco’s long-term health toll. However, traditional interventions for youth have focused on preventing smoking initiation, and interventions for adults have focused on smoking cessation; both have failed to address the needs of young adults. We introduce the concept of “prevescalation” to capture the need and opportunity to prevent the escalation of risk behaviors that typically occur during young adulthood, with a focus on the example of cigarette smoking. Prevescalation negates the notion that prevention has failed if tobacco experimentation occurs during adolescence and focuses on understanding and interrupting transitions between experimentation with tobacco products and established tobacco use that largely occur during young adulthood. However, since risk behaviors often co-occur in young people, the core concept of prevescalation may apply to other behaviors that co-occur and become harder to change in later adulthood. We present a new framework for conceptualizing, developing, and evaluating interventions that better fit the unique behavioral, psychosocial, and socio-environmental characteristics of the young adult years. We discuss the need to target this transitional phase, what we know about behavioral pathways and predictors of cigarette smoking, potential intervention considerations, and research challenges.

Smoking Trajectory Classes and Impact of Social Smoking Identity in Two Cohorts of U.S. Young Adults

Johnson, A. L., Villanti, A. C., Williams, V., Rath, J. M., Vallone, D. M., Abrams, D. B., Hedeker, D., & Mermelstein, R. J.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Emerging Adulthood
Abstract
This study describes cigarette smoking trajectories, the influence of social smoker self-identification (SSID), and correlates of these trajectories in two cohorts of U.S. young adults: a sample from the Chicago metropolitan area (Social Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns [SECAP], n = 893) and a national sample (Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort Study [YA Cohort], n = 1,491). Using latent class growth analyses and growth mixture models, five smoking trajectories were identified in each sample: in SECAP: nonsmoking (n = 658, 73.7%), declining smoking (n = 20, 2.2%), moderate/stable smoking (n = 114, 12.8%), high/stable smoking (n = 79, 8.9%), and escalating smoking (n = 22, 2.5%); and in YA Cohort: nonsmoking (n = 1,215, 81.5%), slowly declining smoking (n = 52, 3.5%), rapidly declining smoking (n = 50, 3.4%), stable smoking (n = 139, 9%), and escalating smoking (n = 35, 2.4%). SSID was most prevalent in moderate/stable smoking (35.5% SECAP), rapidly declining smoking (25.2% YA Cohort), and nonsmoking. Understanding nuances of how smoking identity is formed and used to limit or facilitate smoking behavior in young adults will allow for more effective interventions to reduce tobacco use.

A framework for evaluating the public health impact of e-cigarettes and other vaporized nicotine products

Levy, D. T., Cummings, K. M., Villanti, A. C., Niaura, R., Abrams, D. B., Fong, G. T., & Borland, R.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Addiction

Volume

112

Issue

1

Page(s)

8-17
Abstract
The use of vaporized nicotine products (VNPs), especially e-cigarettes and, to a lesser extent, pressurized aerosol nicotine products and heat-not-burn tobacco products, are being adopted increasingly as an alternative to smoking combusted products, primarily cigarettes. Considerable controversy has accompanied their marketing and use. We propose a framework that describes and incorporates patterns of VNP and combustible cigarette use in determining the total amount of toxic exposure effects on population health. We begin by considering toxicity and the outcomes relevant to population health. We then present the framework and define different measures of VNP use; namely, trial and long-term use for exclusive cigarette smokers, exclusive VNP and dual (cigarette and VNP) use. Using a systems thinking framework and decision theory we considered potential pathways for current, former and never users of VNPs. We then consider the evidence to date and the probable impacts of VNP use on public health, the potential effects of different policy approaches and the possible influence of the tobacco industry on VNP and cigarette use.

Adult interest in using a hypothetical modified risk tobacco product: Findings from wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (2013-14)

Pearson, J. L., Johnson, A. L., Johnson, S. E., Stanton, C. A., Villanti, A. C., Niaura, R. S., Glasser, A. M., Wang, B., Abrams, D. B., Cummings, K. M., & Hyland, A.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Addiction
Abstract
Background and aims: The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act provides a pathway for manufacturers to market a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP). This study examines socio-demographic and tobacco use correlates of interest in a hypothetical MRTP in a nationally representative sample of US adults. Design: Cross sectional wave 1 data from the 2013-14 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Setting: Household Audio-Computer Assisted Self-Interviews of US adults conducted in 2013-14. Participants: A total of 32320 civilian, non-institutionalized adults in the United States. Measurements: Interest in using a hypothetical MRTP ('If a tobacco product made a claim that it was less harmful to health than other tobacco products, how likely would you be to use that product?'), socio-demographics, tobacco use history and mental health and substance use problems. All estimates were weighted. Findings: Overall, 16.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 16.28, 17.18] of US adults reported interest in a hypothetical MRTP. Tobacco use was associated significantly with interest in a hypothetical MRTP, with interest most common among current established smokers (54.4%; 95% CI = 53.31, 55.39) and least common among never tobacco users (3.0%; 95% CI = 2.49, 3.55). Interest in a hypothetical MRTP was associated with experimental e-cigarette use among current experimental, current established and former smokers. Among non-smokers, race, age, education and substance use were associated with interest in using a hypothetical MRTP. Conclusions: Among adults in the United States, interest in using a hypothetical modified risk tobacco product is low overall, and highest among current experimental and established smokers. A small percentage of non-smokers are interested in using a hypothetical hypothetical modified risk tobacco product.

Analysis of E-cigarette use in the 2014 Eurobarometer survey: calling out deficiencies in epidemiology methods

Polosa, R., Caponnetto, P., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Internal and Emergency Medicine

Volume

12

Issue

6

Page(s)

733-735

Design and methods of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

Hyland, A., Ambrose, B. K., Conway, K. P., Borek, N., Lambert, E., Carusi, C., Taylor, K., Crosse, S., Fong, G. T., Michael Cummings, K., Abrams, D., Pierce, J. P., Sargent, J., Messer, K., Bansal-Travers, M., Niaura, R., Vallone, D., Hammond, D., Hilmi, N., Kwan, J., Piesse, A., Kalton, G., Lohr, S., Pharris-Ciurej, N., Castleman, V., Green, V. R., Tessman, G., Kaufman, A., Lawrence, C., Van Bemmel, D. M., Kimmel, H. L., Blount, B., Yang, L., O’Brien, B., Tworek, C., Alberding, D., Hull, L. C., Cheng, Y. C., Maklan, D., Backinger, C. L., & Compton, W. M.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Tobacco Control

Volume

26

Issue

4

Page(s)

371-378
Abstract
Background This paper describes the methods and conceptual framework for Wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study data collection. The National Institutes of Health, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is partnering with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products to conduct the PATH Study under a contract with Westat. Methods The PATH Study is a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort study of 45 971 adults and youth in the USA, aged 12 years and older. Wave 1 was conducted from 12 September 2013 to 15 December 2014 using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing to collect information on tobacco-use patterns, risk perceptions and attitudes towards current and newly emerging tobacco products, tobacco initiation, cessation, relapse behaviours and health outcomes. The PATH Study’s design allows for the longitudinal assessment of patterns of use of a spectrum of tobacco products, including initiation, cessation, relapse and transitions between products, as well as factors associated with use patterns. Additionally, the PATH Study collects biospecimens from consenting adults aged 18 years and older and measures biomarkers of exposure and potential harm related to tobacco use. Conclusions The cumulative, population-based data generated over time by the PATH Study will contribute to the evidence base to inform FDA’s regulatory mission under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and efforts to reduce the Nation’s burden of tobacco-related death and disease.

Electronic cigarette use among US adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, 2013-2014

Coleman, B. N., Rostron, B., Johnson, S. E., Ambrose, B. K., Pearson, J., Stanton, C. A., Wang, B., Delnevo, C., Bansal-Travers, M., Kimmel, H. L., Goniewicz, M. L., Niaura, R., Abrams, D., Conway, K. P., Borek, N., Compton, W. M., & Hyland, A.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Tobacco Control
Abstract
Background: Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in the USA is increasing. As such, it is critical to understand who uses e-cigarettes, how e-cigarettes are used and what types of products are prevalent. This study assesses patterns of current e-cigarette use among daily and non-daily adult users in the 2013-2014 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.Methods: We examined the proportion of current adult e-cigarette users (n=3642) reporting infrequent use (use on 'some days' and use on 0-2 of the past 30 days), moderate use (use on 'some days' and use on >2 of the past 30 days) and daily use. We examined demographic characteristics, use of other tobacco products and e-cigarette product characteristics overall and by use category. Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) were calculated using Poisson regression to assess correlates of daily e-cigarette use.Results: Among the 5.5% of adult current e-cigarette users in the PATH Study, 42.2% reported infrequent use, 36.5% reported moderate use and 21.3% reported daily use. Cigarette smokers who quit in the past year were more likely to report daily e-cigarette use, compared with current smokers (aPR=3.21, 95% CI=2.75 to 3.76). Those who reported using rechargeable or refillable devices were more likely to report daily use compared with those who did not use these devices (aPR=1.95, 95% CI=1.44 to 2.65 and aPR=2.10, 95% CI=1.75 to 2.52, respectively).Conclusions: The majority of e-cigarette users in this study reported less than daily use. Compared with non-daily use, daily use was associated with being a former smoker; however, cross-sectional data limits our ability to establish the temporality or directionality of such associations.

Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Recalled Exposure to and Self-Reported Impact of Tobacco Marketing and Promotions

Moran, M. B., Heley, K., Pierce, J. P., Niaura, R., Strong, D., & Abrams, D.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Health Communication

Page(s)

1-10
Abstract
The role of tobacco marketing in tobacco use, particularly among the vulnerable ethnic and socioeconomic sub-populations is a regulatory priority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There currently exist both ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in the use of tobacco products. Monitoring such inequalities in exposure to tobacco marketing is essential to inform tobacco regulatory policy that may reduce known tobacco-related health disparities. We use data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Wave 1 youth survey to examine (1) recalled exposure to and liking of tobacco marketing for cigarettes, non-large cigars, and e-cigarettes, (2) self-reported exposure to specific tobacco marketing tactics, namely coupons, sweepstakes, and free samples, and (3) self-reported impact of tobacco marketing and promotions on product use. Findings indicate that African Americans and those of lower SES were more likely to recall having seen cigarette and non-large cigar ads. Reported exposure to coupons, sweepstakes and free samples also varied ethnically and socioeconomically. African Americans and those of lower SES were more likely than other respondents to report that marketing and promotions as played a role in their tobacco product use. Better understanding of communication inequalities and their influence on product use is needed to inform tobacco regulatory action that may reduce tobacco company efforts to target vulnerable groups. Tobacco education communication campaigns focusing on disproportionately affected groups could help counter the effects of targeted industry marketing.

Frequency of youth e-cigarette and tobacco use patterns in the United States: Measurement precision is critical to inform public health

Villanti, A. C., Pearson, J. L., Glasser, A. M., Johnson, A. L., Collins, L. K., Niaura, R. S., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

19

Issue

11

Page(s)

1345-1350
Abstract
Introduction: E-cigarette use occurs with tobacco product use in youth. Methods: Using the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), we examined past 30-day frequency of cigarette, cigar, smokeless, and e-cigarette use in the context of past 30-day and ever tobacco product use in US middle and high school students (N = 22 007). Frequency of productspecific use was examined by exclusive versus concurrent use with another product in the past 30 days (poly-use). Results: In 2014, the majority (83%) of US middle and high school students had not used tobacco or e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. In the 9.3% of youth reporting any past 30-day e-cigarette use, 63% also reported using a tobacco product; among the 3.3% past 30-day exclusive e-cigarette users, about two-thirds (2.1%) had ever used combustible or non-combustible tobacco products and one-third (1.2%) had not. Few never tobacco users had used e-cigarettes on 10 or more days in the past month (absolute percent < 0.1%). Among past 30-day cigarette and smokeless users, the two highest frequency categories were 1-2 days and daily use; among past 30-day e-cigarette and cigar users, prevalence decreased with increasing frequency of use. The majority of past 30-day cigarette, cigar, smokeless, and e-cigarette users reported poly-use. Conclusions: Prevalence estimates for a single product mask the complex patterns of frequency, temporality, and poly-use in youth. Two-thirds of past 30-day exclusive e-cigarette users have ever used tobacco. Poly-use is the dominant pattern of tobacco and e-cigarette use among US middle and high school students. Implications: Our study highlights the complexity of tobacco use patterns in US middle and high school students. Future studies addressing the full public health impact of movement into or out of combustible tobacco use will require longitudinal data with appropriate measures of tobacco and e-cigarette product-specific use (eg, frequency and intensity), as well as adequate sample size and a sufficient number of waves to determine how use of individual products, like e-cigarettes, impact progression into or out of more stable patterns of tobacco and e-cigarette use.

Identifying “social smoking” U.S. young adults using an empirically-driven approach

Villanti, A. C., Johnson, A. L., Rath, J. M., Williams, V., Vallone, D. M., Abrams, D. B., Hedeker, D., & Mermelstein, R. J.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Addictive Behaviors

Volume

70

Page(s)

83-89
Abstract
The phenomenon of “social smoking” emerged in the past decade as an important area of research, largely due to its high prevalence in young adults. The purpose of this study was to identify classes of young adult ever smokers based on measures of social and contextual influences on tobacco use. Latent class models were developed using social smoking measures, and not the frequency or quantity of tobacco use. Data come from a national sample of young adult ever smokers aged 18–24 (Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort Study, N = 1564). The optimal models identified three latent classes: Class 1 – nonsmokers (52%); Class 2 – social smokers (18%); and Class 3 – smokers (30%). Nearly 60% of the “social smoker” class self-identified as a social smoker, 30% as an ex-smoker/tried smoking, and 12% as a non-smoker. The “social smoker” class was most likely to report using tobacco mainly or only with others. Past 30-day cigarette use was highest in the “smoker” class. Hookah use was highest in the “social smoker” class. Other tobacco and e-cigarette use was similar in the “social smoker” and “smoker” classes. Past 30-day tobacco and e-cigarette use was present for all products in the “non-smoker” class. Young adult social smokers emerge empirically as a sizable, distinct class from other smokers, even without accounting for tobacco use frequency or intensity. The prevalence of hookah use in “social smokers” indicates a group for which the social aspect of tobacco use could drive experimentation and progression to regular use.

Improving adherence to smoking cessation treatment: Intervention effects in a web-based randomized trial

Graham, A. L., Papandonatos, G. D., Cha, S., Erar, B., Amato, M. S., Cobb, N. K., Niaura, R. S., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

19

Issue

3

Page(s)

324-332
Abstract
Background: Web-based smoking cessation interventions can deliver evidence-based treatments to a wide swath of the population, but effectiveness is often limited by insufficient adherence to proven treatment components. This study evaluated the impact of a social network (SN) intervention and free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) on adherence to evidence-based components of smoking cessation treatment in the context of a Web-based intervention. Methods: A sample of adult U.S. smokers (N = 5290) was recruited via BecomeAnEX.org, a free smoking cessation Web site. Smokers were randomized to one of four arms: (1) an interactive, evidence-based smoking cessation Web site (WEB) alone; (2) WEB in conjunction with an SN intervention designed to integrate participants into the online community (WEB+SN); (3) WEB plus free NRT (WEB+NRT); and (4) the combination of all treatments (WEB+SN+NRT). Adherence outcomes assessed at 3-month follow-up were as follows: Web site utilization metrics, use of skills training components, intratreatment social support, and pharmacotherapy use. Results: WEB+SN+NRT outperformed all others on Web site utilization metrics, use of practical counseling tools, intratreatment social support, and NRT use. It was the only intervention to promote the sending of private messages and the viewing of community pages over WEB alone. Both social network arms outperformed WEB on most metrics of online community engagement. Both NRT arms showed higher medication use compared to WEB alone. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of two approaches for improving adherence to evidence-based components of smoking cessation treatment. Integrated approaches to medication provision and social network engagement can enhance adherence to components known to improve cessation. Implications: This study demonstrated that an integrated approach to medication provision and social network integration, when delivered through an online program, can enhance adherence across all three recommended components of an evidence-based smoking cessation program (skills training, social support, and pharmacotherapy use). Nicotine replacement therapy-when provided as part of an integrated program-increases adherence to other program elements, which in turn augment its own therapeutic effects. An explicit focus on approaches to improve treatment adherence is an important first step to identifying leverage points for optimizing intervention effectiveness.

Indicators of dependence for different types of tobacco product users: Descriptive findings from Wave 1 (2013–2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study

Strong, D. R., Pearson, J., Ehlke, S., Kirchner, T., Abrams, D., Taylor, K., Compton, W. M., Conway, K. P., Lambert, E., Green, V. R., Hull, L. C., Evans, S. E., Cummings, K. M., Goniewicz, M., Hyland, A., & Niaura, R.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Volume

178

Page(s)

257-266
Abstract
Background and aims With no established standard for assessing tobacco dependence (TD) across tobacco products in surveys, the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study provides a unique platform for examining the psychometric properties and validity of multiple indicators of tobacco dependence across a range of tobacco products. Participants A U.S. nationally representative sample from the 32,320 adult Wave 1 interviews with analyses focused on 14,287 respondents who were current established users of tobacco products. Findings This analysis confirms a single primary latent construct underlying responses to TD indicators for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco products. Mutually exclusive past year tobacco-user groups included: cigarette only (n = 8689), e-cigarette only (n = 437), cigar only (traditional, cigarillo, or filtered) (n = 706), hookah only (n = 461), smokeless tobacco only (n = 971), cigarette plus e-cigarette (n = 709), and multiple tobacco product users (n = 2314). Differential Item Functioning (DIF) analyses supported use of 16 of the 24 examined TD indicators for comparisons across tobacco users. With cigarette users as a reference (mean = 0.0, SD = 1.0), we observed a range of TD with hookah (mean = −1.71) and cigar (mean = −1.92) only users being the lowest, and cigarette plus e-cigarette product users being the highest (mean = 0.35). Regression models including sociodemographic factors supported concurrent validity with increased product use frequency and TD among cigarette-only (p < 0.001), e-cigarette only (p < 0.002), cigar (p < 0.001), hookah only (p < 0.001), and smokeless tobacco users (p < 0.001). Conclusion The PATH Study Adult Wave 1 Questionnaire provided psychometrically valid measures of TD that enables future regulatory investigations of nicotine dependence across tobacco products.

Preliminary evaluation of a telephone-based smoking cessation intervention in the lung cancer screening setting: A randomized clinical trial

Taylor, K. L., Hagerman, C. J., Luta, G., Bellini, P. G., Stanton, C., Abrams, D. B., Kramer, J. A., Anderson, E., Regis, S., McKee, A., McKee, B., Niaura, R., Harper, H., & Ramsaier, M.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Lung Cancer

Volume

108

Page(s)

242-246
Abstract
Incorporating effective smoking cessation interventions into lung cancer screening (LCS) programs will be essential to realizing the full benefit of screening. We conducted a pilot randomized trial to determine the feasibility and efficacy of a telephone-counseling (TC) smoking cessation intervention vs. usual care (UC) in the LCS setting. In collaboration with 3 geographically diverse LCS programs, we enrolled current smokers (61.5% participation rate) who were: registered to undergo LCS, 50–77 years old, and had a 20+ pack-year smoking history. Eligibility was not based on readiness to quit. Participants completed pre-LCS (T0) and post-LCS (T1) telephone assessments, were randomized to TC (N = 46) vs. UC (N = 46), and completed a final 3-month telephone assessment (T2). Both study arms received a list of evidence-based cessation resources. TC participants also received up to 6 brief counseling calls with a trained cessation counselor. Counseling calls incorporated motivational interviewing and utilized the screening result as a motivator for quitting. The outcome was biochemically verified 7-day point prevalence cessation at 3-months post-randomization. Participants (56.5% female) were 60.2 (SD = 5.4) years old and reported 47.1 (SD = 22.2) pack years; 30% were ready to stop smoking in the next 30 days. TC participants completed an average of 4.4 (SD = 2.3) sessions. Using intent-to-treat analyses, biochemically verified quit rates were 17.4% (TC) vs. 4.3% (UC), p < .05. This study provides preliminary evidence that telephone-based cessation counseling is feasible and efficacious in the LCS setting. As millions of current smokers are now eligible for lung cancer screening, this setting represents an important opportunity to exert a large public health impact on cessation among smokers who are at very high risk for multiple tobacco-related diseases. If this evidence-based, brief, and scalable intervention is replicated, TC could help to improve the overall cost-effectiveness of LCS. Trial registration NCT02267096, https://clinicaltrials.gov

The application of a decision-theoretic model to estimate the public health impact of vaporized nicotine product initiation in the United States

Levy, D. T., Borland, R., Villanti, A. C., Niaura, R., Yuan, Z., Zhang, Y., Meza, R., Holford, T. R., Fong, G. T., Cummings, K. M., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

19

Issue

2

Page(s)

149-159
Abstract
Introduction: The public health impact of vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) such as e-cigarettes is unknown at this time. VNP uptake may encourage or deflect progression to cigarette smoking in those who would not have otherwise smoked, thereby undermining or accelerating reductions in smoking prevalence seen in recent years. Methods: The public health impact of VNP use are modeled in terms of how it alters smoking patterns among those who would have otherwise smoked cigarettes and among those who would not have otherwise smoked cigarettes in the absence of VNPs. The model incorporates transitions from trial to established VNP use, transitions to exclusive VNP and dual use, and the effects of cessation at later ages. Public health impact on deaths and life years lost is estimated for a recent birth cohort incorporating evidence-informed parameter estimates. Results: Based on current use patterns and conservative assumptions, we project a reduction of 21% in smoking-attributable deaths and of 20% in life years lost as a result of VNP use by the 1997 US birth cohort compared to a scenario without VNPs. In sensitivity analysis, health gains from VNP use are especially sensitive to VNP risks and VNP use rates among those likely to smoke cigarettes. Conclusions: Under most plausible scenarios, VNP use generally has a positive public health impact. However, very high VNP use rates could result in net harms. More accurate projections of VNP impacts will require better longitudinal measures of transitions into and out of VNP, cigarette and dual use. Implications: Previous models of VNP use do not incorporate whether youth and young adults initiating VNP would have been likely to have been a smoker in the absence of VNPs. This study provides a decision-theoretic model of VNP use in a young cohort that incorporates tendencies toward smoking and shows that, under most plausible scenarios, VNP use yields public health gains. The model makes explicit the type of surveillance information needed to better estimate the effect of new products and thereby inform public policy.

Changes in the prevalence and correlates of menthol cigarette use in the USA, 2004–2014

Villanti, A. C., Mowery, P. D., Delnevo, C. D., Niaura, R. S., Abrams, D. B., & Giovino, G. A.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Tobacco Control

Volume

25

Page(s)

ii14-ii20
Abstract
Introduction National data from 2004 to 2010 showed that despite decreases in non-menthol cigarette use prevalence, menthol cigarette use prevalence remained constant in adolescents and adults and increased in young adults. The purpose of the current study was to extend these analyses through 2014. Methods We estimated the prevalence of menthol cigarette smoking in the USA during 2004-2014 using annual cross-sectional data on persons aged ≥12 years from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Self-reported menthol status for selected brands that were either exclusively menthol or non-menthol were adjusted based on retail sales data. Data were weighted to provide national estimates. Results Although overall smoking prevalence has decreased, the proportion of past 30-day cigarette smokers using menthol cigarettes was higher (39%) in 2012-2014 compared to 2008-2010 (35%). Youth smokers remain the most likely group to use menthol cigarettes compared to all other age groups. Menthol cigarette prevalence has increased in white, Asian and Hispanic smokers since 2010. Menthol cigarette prevalence exceeded non-menthol cigarette prevalence in youth and young adult smokers in 2014. Among smokers, menthol cigarette use was positively correlated with co-use of cigars. Menthol cigarette and smokeless tobacco co-use also increased from 2004 to 2014. Conclusions The youngest smokers are most likely to use menthol cigarettes. Among smokers, increases in overall menthol cigarette use and menthol cigarette use in whites, Asians and Hispanics since 2010 are of concern. There is tremendous urgency to limit the impact of menthol cigarettes on public health, particularly the health of youth and young adults.

Complying with the framework convention for tobacco control: An application of the Abridged SimSmoke model to Israel

Levy, D., Abrams, D. B., Levy, J., & Rosen, L.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Israel Journal of Health Policy Research

Volume

5

Issue

1
Abstract
Background: The World Health Organization Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) established the MPOWER policy package to provide practical country-level guidance on implementing effective policies to reduce smoking rates. The Abridged SimSmoke tobacco control policy simulation model is applied to Israel to estimate the effects on reducing smoking-attributable mortality resulting from full implementation of MPOWER policies. Methods: Smoking prevalence from the 2014 Israel National Health Interview Survey 3 and population data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics were used to calculate the number of current smokers. The status of current Israeli policy was determined using information from MPOWER 2015 and from local sources. Based on existing knowledge that between 50 % and 65 % of smokers will die prematurely from smoking, the model is used to determine mortality reductions among current smokers from full implementation of MPOWER policies. Results: We estimate that between 550 and 710 thousand smokers of the current 1.1 million Israeli smokers will prematurely die due to smoking. Within 40 years, complete implementation of MPOWER policies is projected to reduce smoking prevalence among current smokers by 34 % and avert between 188 and 245 thousand deaths among current smokers. Taxes, smoke-free air laws, marketing restrictions and media campaigns each reduce smoking by about 5 % within 5 years. Improved cessation treatment and health warnings each have smaller effects in the next five years, but their effects grow rapidly over time. Conclusions: Israel Abridged SimSmoke shows that complete implementation of the MPOWER strategies has the potential to substantially reduce smoking prevalence, and avert premature deaths due to smoking. Additional benefits are also expected from reduced morbidity, reduced initiation among nonsmokers, and reduction in exposure of nonsmokers to tobacco smoke.

Impact of Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Advertising on Susceptibility and Trial of Electronic Cigarettes and Cigarettes in US Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Villanti, A. C., Rath, J. M., Williams, V. F., Pearson, J. L., Richardson, A., Abrams, D. B., Niaura, R. S., & Vallone, D. M.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

18

Issue

5

Page(s)

1331-1339
Abstract
Introduction: This study assessed the impact of brief exposure to four electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) print advertisements (ads) on perceptions, intention, and subsequent use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes in US young adults. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in a national sample of young adults from an online panel survey in 2013. Participants were randomized to ad exposure or control. Curiosity, intentions, and perceptions regarding e-cigarettes were assessed post-exposure and e-cigarette and cigarette use at 6-month follow-up. Analyses were conducted in 2014. Results: Approximately 6% of young adults who had never used an e-cigarette at baseline tried an e-cigarette at 6-month follow-up, half of whom were current cigarette smokers at baseline. Compared to the control group, ad exposure was associated with greater curiosity to try an e-cigarette (18.3% exposed vs. 11.3% unexposed, AOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.18, 2.26) among never e-cigarette users and greater likelihood of e-cigarette trial at follow-up (3.6% exposed vs. 1.2% unexposed, AOR = 2.85; 95% CI = 1.07, 7.61) among never users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Exploratory analyses did not find an association between ad exposure and cigarette trial or past 30-day use among never users, nor cigarette use among smokers over time. Curiosity mediated the relationship between ad exposure and e-cigarette trial among e-cigarette never users. Conclusions: Exposure to e-cigarette ads may enhance curiosity and limited trial of e-cigarettes in never users. Future studies are needed to examine the net effect of curiosity and trial of e-cigarettes on longer-term patterns of tobacco use. Implications: This randomized trial provides the first evidence of the effect of e-cigarette advertising on a behavioral outcome in young adults. Compared to the control group, ad exposure was associated with greater curiosity to try an e-cigarette among never e-cigarette users and greater likelihood of e-cigarette trial at follow-up in a small number of never e-cigarette users and greater likelihood of e-cigarette trial at follow-up among never users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. 2015

Obsolete tobacco control themes can be hazardous to public health: The need for updating views on absolute product risks and harm reduction

Kozlowski, L. T., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

BMC Public Health

Volume

16

Issue

1
Abstract
Background: Leading themes have guided tobacco control efforts, and these themes have changed over the decades. When questions arose about health risks of tobacco, they focused on two key themes: 1) how bad is the problem (i.e., absolute risk) and 2) what can be done to reduce the risk without cessation (i.e., prospects for harm reduction). Using the United States since 1964 as an example, we outline the leading themes that have arisen in response to these two questions. Initially, there was the recognition that "cigarettes are hazardous to health" and an acceptance of safer alternative tobacco products (cigars, pipes, light/lower-tar cigarettes). In the 1980s there was the creation of the seminal theme that "Cigarettes are lethal when used as intended and kill more people than heroin, cocaine, alcohol, AIDS, fires, homicide, suicide, and automobile crashes combined." By around 2000, support for a less-dangerous light/lower tar cigarette was gone, and harm reduction claims were avoided for products like cigars and even for smokeless tobacco which were summarized as "unsafe" or "not a safe alternative to cigarettes." Discussion: The Surgeon General in 2014 concluded that by far the greatest danger to public health was from cigarettes and other combusted products. At the same time the evidence base for smokeless tobacco and alternative nicotine delivery systems (ANDS) had grown. Product innovation and tobacco/nicotine bio-behavioral, epidemiological and public health sciences demonstrate that low nitrosamine smokeless tobacco (e.g., Swedish snus), and ANDS have substantially lower harms than cigarettes. Going forward, it is important to sharpen themes and key messages of tobacco control, while continuing to emphasize the extreme lethality of the inhaled smoke from cigarettes or from use of any combusting tobacco product. Summary: Implications of updating the leading themes for regulation, policymaking and advocacy in tobacco control are proposed as an important next step. A new reframing can align action plans to more powerfully and rapidly achieve population-level benefit and minimize harm to eliminate in our lifetime the use of the most deadly combustible tobacco products and thus prevent the premature deaths of 1 billion people projected to occur worldwide by 2100.

Patterns of electronic cigarette use among adults in the United States

Delnevo, C. D., Giovenco, D. P., Steinberg, M. B., Villanti, A. C., Pearson, J. L., Niaura, R. S., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

18

Issue

5

Page(s)

715-719
Abstract
Introduction: Amid increasing rates of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in the United States, there is an urgent need to monitor patterns of use at the population level in order to inform practice, policy and regulation. This article examines how patterns of e-cigarette use among adults differ between users and nonusers of cigarettes using the most current national data. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. We estimated prevalence of ever, current, and daily e-cigarette use and examined how use patterns differed by demographic subgroups and measures of cigarette smoking status that accounted for the recent availability of e-cigarettes in the US marketplace. Results: Current e-cigarette use is extremely low among never cigarette smokers (0.4%) and former smokers who quit cigarettes 4 or more years ago (0.8%). Although e-cigarette experimentation is most common among current cigarette smokers and young adults, daily use is highest among former smokers who quit in the past year (13.0%) and older adults. Compared to daily cigarette smokers, recently quit smokers were more than four times as likely to be daily users of e-cigarettes (AOR: 4.33 [95% CI: 3.08-6.09]). Conclusions: Extremely low e-cigarette use among never-smokers and longer term former smokers suggest that e-cigarettes neither promote widespread initiation nor relapse among adults. Recognition of the heterogeneity of smokers, including the time since quitting, is critical to draw accurate conclusions about patterns of e-cigarette use at the population level and its potential for public health benefit or harm. Implications: Data from 2014 National Health Interview Survey indicate that e-cigarettes have not been attracting adult non-smokers or promoting relapse in longer term former smokers. Moreover, the data are suggestive that some recent quitters may have done so with the assistance of e-cigarettes. Creating measures of smoking status that treat former smokers as a homogenous group is insufficient to assess the epidemiology of e-cigarette use and the potential impact on public health.

The Moment Study: Protocol for a mixed method observational cohort study of the Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS) initiation process among adult cigarette smokers

Pearson, J. L., Smiley, S. L., Rubin, L. F., Anesetti-Rothermel, A., Elmasry, H., Davis, M., De Atley, T., Harvey, E., Kirchner, T., & Abrams, D. B.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

BMJ Open

Volume

6

Issue

4
Abstract
Introduction: Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS) such as e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that aerosolize nicotine and other substances to simulate smoking without using tobacco. Little is known about the ANDS initiation process among adult smokers. The aims of this research are threefold to: (1) examine how ANDS use affects cigarette use; (2) examine how the immediate environmental and psychosocial contexts of cigarette and ANDS use vary within - and between - participants in general and by menthol preference and race; and, (3) examine participants' 'lived experience' of the subjective perceptions, meaning, influences and utility of cigarette and ANDS use. Methods and analyses: This study's mixed method, 6-week longitudinal design will produce a detailed description of the ANDS initiation process among adult smokers (N=100). Qualitative and quantitative data collection will include 3 weeks of: (1) ecological momentary assessment of patterns of cigarette/ANDS use, satisfaction, mood and craving; (2) geospatial assessment of participants' environment, including indoor and outdoor cigarette/ANDS norms and rules; (3) in-depth interviews about the meaning and utility o cigarette smoking and ANDS use; and, (4) saliva cotinine and exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) biomarkers. A diverse sample will be recruited with an equal number of menthol and non-menthol cigarette smokers. As the primary independent variable, we will investigate how ANDS use affects cigarette consumption. We will also examine how smoking related and ANDS-related rules and norms surrounding product use influence cigarette and ANDS product use, and how the subjective effects of ANDS use affect ANDS perceptions, beliefs and use. Ethics and dissemination: This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the US National Institutes of Health (1R21DA036472), registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02261363), and approved by the Chesapeake IRB (Pro00008526). Findings will be disseminated to the scientific and lay community through presentations, reports and scientific publications.

The relations between false positive and negative screens and smoking cessation and relapse in the National Lung Screening Trial: Implications for public health

Clark, M. A., Gorelick, J. J., Sicks, J. R., Park, E. R., Graham, A. L., Abrams, D. B., & Gareen, I. F.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

18

Issue

1

Page(s)

17-24
Abstract
Introduction: Lung screening is an opportunity for smoking cessation and relapse prevention, but smoking behaviors may differ across screening results. Changes in smoking were evaluated among 18 840 current and former smokers aged 55-74 scheduled to receive three annual lung screenings. Methods: Participants were randomized to low-dose computed tomography or single-view chest radiography in the American College of Radiology/National Lung Screening Trial. Outcome measures included point and sustained (6-month) abstinence and motivation to quit among smokers; and relapse among smokers who quit during follow-up, recent quitters (quit < 6 months), and long-term former smokers (quit ≥6 months). Results: During five years of follow-up, annual point prevalence quit rates ranged from 11.6%-13.4%; 48% of current smokers reported a quit attempt and 7% of long-term former smokers relapsed. Any false positive screening result was associated with subsequent increased point (multivariable hazard ratio HR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.13, 1.35) and sustained (HR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.15, 1.43) abstinence among smokers. Recent quitters with ≥1 false positive screen were less likely to relapse (HR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.54, 0.96). Screening result was not associated with relapse among long-term former smokers or among baseline smokers who quit during follow-up. Conclusions: A false positive screen was associated with increased smoking cessation and less relapse among recent quitters. Consistently negative screens were not associated with greater relapse among long-term former smokers. Given the Affordable Care Act requires most health plans to cover smoking cessation and lung screening, the impact and cost-effectiveness of lung screening could be further enhanced with the addition of smoking cessation interventions.

Young adult smokers' neural response to graphic cigarette warning labels

Green, A. E., Mays, D., Falk, E. B., Vallone, D., Gallagher, N., Richardson, A., Tercyak, K. P., Abrams, D. B., & Niaura, R. S.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Addictive Behaviors Reports

Volume

3

Page(s)

28-32
Abstract
Introduction: The study examined young adult smokers' neural response to graphic warning labels (GWLs) on cigarette packs using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Nineteen young adult smokers (M age 22.9, 52.6% male, 68.4% non-white, M 4.3 cigarettes/day) completed pre-scan, self-report measures of demographics, cigarette smoking behavior, and nicotine dependence, and an fMRI scanning session. During the scanning session participants viewed cigarette pack images (total 64 stimuli, viewed 4 s each) that varied based on the warning label (graphic or visually occluded control) and pack branding (branded or plain packaging) in an event-related experimental design. Participants reported motivation to quit (MTQ) in response to each image using a push-button control. Whole-brain blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional images were acquired during the task. Results: GWLs produced significantly greater self-reported MTQ than control warnings (p < .001). Imaging data indicate stronger neural activation in response to GWLs than the control warnings at a cluster-corrected threshold p < .001 in medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, medial temporal lobe, and occipital cortex. There were no significant differences in response to warnings on branded versus plain cigarette packages. Conclusions: In this sample of young adult smokers, GWLs promoted neural activation in brain regions involved in cognitive and affective decision-making and memory formation and the effects of GWLs did not differ on branded or plain cigarette packaging. These findings complement other recent neuroimaging GWL studies conducted with older adult smokers and with adolescents by demonstrating similar patterns of neural activation in response to GWLs among young adult smokers.

Cigarettes: The Rise and Decline But Not Demise of the Greatest Behavioral Health Disaster of the 20th Century

Abrams, D., Glasser, A., Villanti, A., & Niaura, R. In Population health: Behavioral and social science insights.

Publication year

2015

Page(s)

143-168

Contact

da94@nyu.edu +1 (212) 992-3714 715/719 Broadway New York, NY 10003