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

Early Subjective Sensory Experiences with “Cigalike” E-cigarettes Among African American Menthol Smokers: A qualitative study

Smiley, S. L., DeAtley, T., Rubin, L. F., Harvey, E., Kierstead, E. C., Hooper, M. W., Niaura, R., Abrams, D., & Pearson, J. L.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

20

Issue

9

Page(s)

1069-1075
Abstract
Introduction: Despite smoker interest in e-cigarettes as a harm reduction or cessation aid, many smokers prematurely discontinue vaping after trying a product. This study explored the role of early subjective sensory experiences in vaping persistence and desistance. Methods: African American menthol cigarette smokers aged ≥18 years (N = 15; M = 54.1 years; SD = 8.2), motivated to quit smoking, and interested in trying e-cigarettes were recruited in Washington, DC. Participants were followed for 3 weeks and provided menthol cigalike e-cigarettes after Week 1. Participants completed three interviews about their vaping experiences. Thematic analysis of responses was designed to understand the sensory aspects of vaping. Results: During the first 2 weeks of vaping, four participants reported a positive vaping experience while 11 reported decreased satisfaction. Salient sensory attributes of dissatisfaction included poor taste, insufficient throat hit, difficulty pulling, and a lack of “whole body” satisfaction compared to their preferred cigarette brand. Conclusions: The sensory experiences with a specific cigalike e-cigarette were related to vaping persistence and desistence. Although this was a small volunteer sample of African American menthol smokers motivated to quit smoking, 27% (N = 4) of participants with a positive vaping experience continued using the product, while 73% (N = 11) of participants' vaping experience was unsatisfactory across several experiential categories. In future research of e-cigarettes' efficacy as a smoking cessation or reduction aid, both device characteristics and smokers' expectations for these devices should be considered, so vapers do not expect the same taste sensations, throat sensations, and “whole body” satisfaction as they experienced with their menthol cigarettes. Implications: The subjective sensory experiences associated with initial e-cigarette product use are associated with use patterns. Subjective sensory experiences may also help understand the differences in the appeal, satisfaction, and harm-reduction potential of the rapidly evolving diverse types of products emerging in the marketplace. How products meet the sensory needs of smokers wanting to switch or quit smoking may influence adherence and success rates.

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., Pearson, J. L., Glasser, A. M., Collins, L. K., & Abrams, D.

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.

Managing nicotine without smoke to save lives now: Evidence for harm minimization

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

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Preventive Medicine
Abstract
Tobacco control has made strides in prevention and cessation, but deaths will not decline rapidly without massive behavior change. Currently, inhaled smoke from combusting tobacco is chiefly responsible for prematurely killing 7.2 million people worldwide and 530,000 in the United States annually. An array of noncombustible nicotine products (NNPs) has emerged and has disrupted the marketplace. Saving lives more speedily will require societal acceptance of locating a “sweet spot” within a three-dimensional framework where NNPs are simultaneously: 1. Less toxic, 2. Appealing (can reach smokers at scale), and 3. Satisfying (adequate nicotine delivery) to displace smoking. For this harm minimization framework to eliminate smoking, a laser focus on “smoking control” (not general tobacco control) is needed. By adopting these economically viable NNPs as part of the solution, NNPs can be smoking control's valued ally. Synthesis of the science indicates that policy and regulation can sufficiently protect youth while speeding the switch away from smoking. Despite some risks of nicotine dependence that can be mitigated but not eliminated, no credible evidence counters the assertion that NNPs will save lives if they displace smoking. But scientific evidence and advocacy has selectively exaggerated NNP harms over benefits. Accurate communication is crucial to dispel the misperception of NNPs harms and reassure smokers they can successfully replace smoking cigarettes with NNPs. Saving more lives now is an attainable and pragmatic way to call for alignment of all stakeholders and factions within traditional tobacco control rather than perpetuate the unrealized and unrealizable perfection of nicotine prohibition.

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.

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.

Prevalence and correlates of smoking among people living with HIV in South Africa

Elf, J. L., Variava, E., Chon, S., Lebina, L., Motlhaoleng, K., Gupte, N., Niaura, R., Abrams, D., Golub, J. E., & Martinson, N.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

20

Issue

9

Page(s)

1124-1131
Abstract
Introduction: Smoking likely exacerbates comorbidities which people living with HIV (PLWH) are predisposed. We assessed prevalence and correlates of smoking among PLWH in South Africa, which has 7 million PLWH but inadequate reporting of smoking. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among randomly selected adults with HIV infection in Klerksdorp, South Africa. Current smoking was assessed by questionnaire, exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO), and urine cotinine. Results: Of 1210 enrolled adults, 753 (62%) were women. In total, 409 (34%) self-reported ever smoking: 301 (74%) were current and 108 (26%) were former smokers. Using eCO and urine cotinine tests, 239 (52%) men and 100 (13%) women were defined as current smokers. Nearly all smokers (99%) were receiving ART, and had a median (IQR) CD4 count of 333 cells/μL (181-534), viral load of 31 IU/mL (25-4750), and BMI of 21 kg/m2 (19-24). Adjusted analysis among men showed higher odds of smoking with marijuana use (OR = 7.5, 95% CI = 4.1 to 14.6). Among women, 304 (43%) reported using snuff, compared to only 11 (3%) of men, and snuff use was inversely associated with smoking (OR = 0.1; 95% CI = 0.05 to 0.2). A subset of participants (n = 336) was asked about alcohol use, which was positively associated with smoking for men (OR = 8.1, 95% CI = 2.8 to 25.9) and women (OR = 8.5, 95% CI = 2.9 to 26.8). Conclusion: Smoking prevalence among PLWH in South Africa is alarmingly high. Prevention and cessation strategies that consider marijuana and alcohol use are needed. Implications: As long-term HIV care continues to improve, more people living with HIV (PLWH) will die of diseases, including tuberculosis, for which smoking plays an important causal role. The prevalence of smoking is markedly higher among PLWH in high-resource settings, but data for Africa and other low-resource settings that shoulder the brunt of the HIV epidemic has previously not been well documented. We report an alarmingly high prevalence of smoking among PLWH in South Africa, particularly among men, and a strong association between current smoking and use of other substances.

Preventing Smoking Progression in Young Adults: the Concept of Prevescalation

Villanti, A. C., Niaura, R., Abrams, D., & 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.

Public misperception that very low nicotine cigarettes are less carcinogenic

Byron, M. J., Jeong, M., Abrams, D., & Brewer, N. T.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Tobacco Control
Abstract
Objective: The USA is considering a very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarette standard. We sought to characterise the prevalence and correlates of the incorrect belief that VLNC cigarettes are less carcinogenic than current cigarettes, as this could reduce motivation to quit. Methods: Participants were a nationally representative sample of 650 adult smokers in the USA. In 2015-2016, before the VLNC proposal became public, these smokers took part in an online survey. We used multivariate weighted analyses to calculate ORs and percentages and a ‡2 test to examine the association between variables. Results: Overall, 47.1% of smokers believed that smoking VLNC cigarettes for 30 years would be less likely to cause cancer than smoking current cigarettes. This misperception was more common among smokers who were aged above 55 (56.6%) and black (57.4%). Additionally, 23.9% of smokers reported they would be less likely to quit if the USA adopted a VLNC standard. Thinking that VLNC cigarettes would be less carcinogenic was associated with smokers reporting they would be less likely to quit (P<0.01). Conclusions: Many smokers had the misperception that smoking VLNC cigarettes is less likely to cause cancer, and some stated that they would be less likely to quit. A VLNC standard may be more effective if accompanied by a communication campaign that emphasises the continued dangers of smoking VLNC cigarettes due to the many toxic chemicals in smoke.

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., 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.

The relationship of e-cigarette use to cigarette quit attempts and cessation: Insights from a large, nationally representative U.S. Survey

Levy, D. T., Yuan, Z., Luo, Y., & Abrams, D.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Volume

20

Issue

8

Page(s)

931-939
Abstract
Objectives: While cessation from cigarettes is a top priority for public health, controversy surrounds the role of e-cigarettes for quitting cigarettes. This study examines the role of e-cigarettes in quit attempts and 3-month cigarette abstinence using a large, recent nationally representative US sample. Methods: Data from the 2014/15 Tobacco Use Supplement-Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) on cigarette and e-cigarette use and individual characteristics were supplemented with information on state tobacco control policies. We estimated frequencies and multivariate logistic equations for making a quit attempt among those who smoked 1 year earlier and for remaining abstinent at least 3 months among those making a quit attempt. These two outcomes were related to demographic characteristics, tobacco control policies and different frequency measures of e-cigarette use (ever, at least 1, 5, 20 of the last 30 days, a continuous measure of days use). Results: Having made a quit attempt was more likely among smokers using e-cigarettes than non-users. Among those making at least one quit attempt, quit success was lower among ever users, but higher among those with at least 5 days use of e-cigarettes in the last month. Both quit attempts and quit success were linearly related to the frequency of e-cigarette use. Conclusions: Consistent with randomized trials and those observational studies that measure frequency of e-cigarette use, both quit attempts and quit success were positively associated with increased frequency of e-cigarette use. Frequency of e-cigarette use was important in gauging the nature of these relationships. Implications: Previous studies have obtained mixed results regarding the relationship of e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking cessation. This study provides a more precise methodology for considering the relationship of e-cigarette use to quit attempts and to quit success, and finds that quit attempts and quit success increase with the number of days use in the past month.

Transitions in electronic cigarette use among adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, Waves 1 and 2 (2013-2015)

Coleman, B., Rostron, B., Johnson, S. E., Persoskie, A., Pearson, J., Stanton, C., Choi, K., Anic, G., Goniewicz, M. L., Cummings, K. M., Kasza, K. A., Silveira, M. L., Delnevo, C., Niaura, R., Abrams, D., Kimmel, H. L., Borek, N., Compton, W. M., & Hyland, A.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Tobacco Control
Abstract
Introduction: This study assessed patterns of e-cigarette and cigarette use from Wave 1 to Wave 2 among adult e-cigarette users at Wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Methods: We examined changes in e-cigarette use frequency at Wave 2 among adult e-cigarette users at Wave 1 (unweighted n=2835). Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) were calculated using a predicted marginal probability approach to assess correlates of e-cigarette discontinuance and smoking abstinence at Wave 2. Results: Half (48.8%) of adult e-cigarette users at Wave 1 discontinued their use of e-cigarettes at Wave 2. Among dual users of e-cigarettes and cigarettes at Wave 1, 44.3% maintained dual use, 43.5% discontinued e-cigarette use and maintained cigarette smoking and 12.1% discontinued cigarette use at Wave 2, either by abstaining from cigarette smoking only (5.1%) or discontinuing both products (7.0%). Among dual users at Wave 1, daily e-cigarette users were more likely than non-daily users to report smoking abstinence at Wave 2 (aPR=1.40, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.91). Using a customisable device (rather than a non-customisable one) was not significantly related to smoking abstinence at Wave 2 (aPR=1.14, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.60). Conclusions: This study suggests that e-cigarette use patterns are highly variable over a 1-year period. This analysis provides the first nationally representative estimates of transitions among US adult e-cigarette users. Future research, including additional waves of the PATH Study, can provide further insight into long-term patterns of e-cigarette use critical to understanding the net population health impact of e-cigarettes in USA.

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., 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., Glasser, A. M., Wang, B., Abrams, D., 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., & Abrams, D.

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., 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., & Abrams, D.

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., 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.

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., Abrams, D., & 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., 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., Niaura, R., & 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

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