David B Abrams
Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
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.
BSc (Hons), Psychology and Computer Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South AfricaMS, Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJPhD, Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJPostdoctoral Fellow, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI
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)
Behavioral ScienceChronic DiseasesEvaluationsImplementation and Impact of Public Health RegulationsImplementation sciencePopulation HealthPublic Health PedagogyPublic Health SystemsResearch DesignSystems IntegrationSystems InterventionsTobacco ControlTranslational science
Estimating the Population Health Impact of Recently Introduced Modified Risk Tobacco Products: A Comparison of Different Approaches
Intensive Longitudinal Study of the Relationship Between Cigalike E-cigarette Use and Cigarette Smoking Among Adult Cigarette Smokers Without Immediate Plans to Quit Smoking
Youth Vaping and Tobacco Use in Context in the United States: Results From the 2018 National Youth Tobacco SurveyGlasser, A. M., Johnson, A. L., Niaura, R. S., Abrams, D. B., & Pearson, J. L.
Journal titleNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Page(s)447-453AbstractINTRODUCTION: According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), youth e-cigarette use (vaping) rose between 2017 and 2018. Frequency of vaping and concurrent past 30-day (p30d) use of e-cigarettes and tobacco products have not been reported. METHODS: We analyzed the 2018 NYTS (N = 20 189) for vaping among all students (middle and high school; 6-12th grades; 9-19 years old) by frequency of vaping, exclusive vaping, p30d poly-product use (vaping and use of one or more tobacco product), and any past tobacco product use. RESULTS: In 2018, 81.4% of students had not used any tobacco or vapor product in the p30d, and 86.2% had not vaped in the p30d. Among all students, of the 13.8% vaped in the p30d, just over half vaped on ≤5 days (7.0%), and roughly a quarter each vaped on 6-19 days (3.2%) and on 20+ days (3.6%). Almost three quarters of p30d vapers (9.9%) reported past or concurrent tobacco use and the remainder (3.9%) were tobacco naïve. 2.8% of students were tobacco naïve and vaped on ≤5 days; 0.7% were tobacco-naïve and vaped on 6-19 days, and 0.4% were tobacco-naïve and vaped on 20+ days. CONCLUSIONS: Vaping increased among US youth in 2018 over 2017. The increases are characterized by patterns of low p30d vaping frequency and high poly-product use, and a low prevalence of vaping among more frequent but tobacco naïve vapers. IMPLICATIONS: Results underscore the importance of including the full context of use patterns. The majority of vapers (60.0%-88.9% by use frequency) were concurrent p30d or ever tobacco users. About 4% of students were tobacco naïve and vaped in the p30d, but few (0.4%) vaped regularly on 20 or more days. Reporting youth vaping data with frequency and tobacco product co-use will give public health decision-makers the best possible information to protect public health.
Association of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Use With Cigarette Smoking Progression or Reduction Among Young AdultsPearson, J. L., Sharma, E., Rui, N., Halenar, M. J., Johnson, A. L., Cummings, K. M., Hammad, H. T., Kaufman, A. R., Tworek, C., Goniewicz, M. L., Kimmel, H. L., Tanski, S., Compton, W. M., Day, H., Ambrose, B. K., Bansal-Travers, M., Silveira, M. L., Abrams, D., Limpert, J., Travers, M. J., Borek, N., Hyland, A. J., & Stanton, C. A.
Journal titleJAMA network open
Page(s)e2015893AbstractImportance: The prevalence of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use, including e-cigarettes, among US young adults (YAs) has raised questions about how these products may affect future tobacco and nicotine use among YAs. Given this prevalence and that young adulthood is a critical period for the establishment of tobacco and nicotine use, it is important to consider the association between ENDS use and cigarette smoking specifically in this age group. Objective: To examine whether ENDS use frequency or intensity is associated with changes in cigarette smoking among US YA ever smokers during 1 year. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used 3 waves of data (2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016) from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study of adults and youth. Unweighted 1:6 propensity score matching was used to match participants on wave 1 risk factors for ENDS use at wave 2. The changes in smoking between wave 2 and wave 3 were assessed using the matched sample. In total, 1096 ENDS-naive, ever cigarette-smoking YAs (18-24 years of age) at wave 1 who participated in wave 2 and wave 3 and who had complete data in the PATH Study were included in the analyses, which were conducted from August 2018 to October 2019. Exposures: Never ENDS use (n = 987), any previous 30-day ENDS use (n = 109), 1 to 5 days of ENDS use in the previous 30 days (n = 75), and 6 or more days ENDS use in the previous 30 days at wave 2 (n = 34). Main Outcomes and Measures: The analytic sample was selected using multiple variables based on peer-reviewed literature supporting associations with ENDS use. The main outcomes-changes in cigarette smoking behavior between wave 2 and wave 3-were defined using 2 measures: (1) change in smoking frequency, defined as the number of smoking days in the previous 30 days at wave 3 vs wave 2, and (2) change in smoking intensity, defined as the number smoking days in the previous 30 days multiplied by the mean number of cigarettes consumed on smoking days at wave 3 vs wave 2. Results: The present cohort analyses included 1096 YA ever smokers who were ENDS naive at wave 1. The majority of the sample were women (609 [55.6%]) and White individuals (698 [63.7%]), and the mean (SD) age was 21.4 (1.9) years. In wave 1, 161 YAs (14.7%) were daily smokers in the previous 30 days. After propensity score matching, no statistically significant associations were observed between any definition of wave 2 ENDS use and changes in either the frequency or intensity of smoking at wave 3. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of US YA ever smokers, ENDS use was not associated with either decreased or increased cigarette smoking during a 1-year period. However, it is possible that the rapidly evolving marketplace of vaping products may lead to different trajectories of YA cigarette and ENDS use in the future.
Can the Association Between Electronic-Cigarette Use and Stroke Be Interpreted as Risk of Stroke?
Hookah use patterns, social influence and associated other substance use among a sample of New York City public university studentsEl Shahawy, O., Park, S. H., Rogers, E. S., Shearston, J. A., Thompson, A. B., Cooper, S. C., Freudenberg, N., Ball, S. A., Abrams, D., Shelley, D., & Sherman, S. E.
Journal titleSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue1AbstractBackground: Most hookah use studies have not included racial and ethnic minorities which limits our understanding of its use among these growing populations. This study aimed to investigate the individual characteristics of hookah use patterns and associated risk behaviors among an ethnically diverse sample of college students. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 2460 students (aged 18-25) was conducted in 2015, and data was analyzed in 2017. Descriptive statistics were used to present the sociodemographic characteristics, hookah use-related behavior, and binge drinking and marijuana use according to the current hookah use group, including never, exclusive, dual/poly hookah use. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to examine how hookah related behavior and other risk behaviors varied by sociodemographics and hookah use patterns. Results: Among current hookah users (n = 312), 70% were exclusive hookah users and 30% were dual/poly hookah users. There were no statistically significant differences in sociodemographic characteristics except for race/ethnicity (p < 0.05). Almost half (44%) of the exclusive hookah users reported having at least five friends who also used hookah, compared to 30% in the dual/poly use group. Exclusive users were less likely to report past year binge drinking (17%) and past year marijuana use (25%) compared to those in the dual/poly use group (44 and 48% respectively); p < 0.001. Conclusions: The socialization aspects of hookah smoking seem to be associated with its use patterns. Our study calls for multicomponent interventions designed to target poly tobacco use as well as other substance use that appears to be relatively common among hookah users.
Role of e-cigarettes and pharmacotherapy during attempts to quit cigarette smoking: The PATH Study 2013-16
Young Adult Tobacco and E-cigarette Use Transitions: Examining Stability Using Multistate Modeling
Associations of risk factors of e-cigarette and cigarette use and susceptibility to use among baseline PATH study youth participants (2013–2014)
Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Recalled Exposure to and Self-Reported Impact of Tobacco Marketing and Promotions
Evidence, alarm, and the debate over e-cigarettesFairchild, A., Healton, C., Curran, J., Abrams, D., & Bayer, R.
Longitudinal e-Cigarette and cigarette use among US Youth in the PATH Study (2013-2015)Stanton, C. A., Bansal-Travers, M., Johnson, A. L., Sharma, E., Katz, L., Ambrose, B. K., Silveira, M. L., Day, H., Sargent, J., Borek, N., Compton, W. M., Johnson, S. E., Kimmel, H. L., Kaufman, A. R., Limpert, J., Abrams, D., Cummings, K. M., Goniewicz, M. L., Tanski, S., Travers, M. J., Hyland, A. J., & Pearson, J. L.
Journal titleJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Page(s)1088-1096AbstractBackground: Evidence is accumulating that youth who try Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS, e-cigarettes) may go on to try cigarettes. This analysis examines the bidirectional patterns of ENDS and cigarette use among US youth over one year and uses propensity score matching (PSM) to examine frequency of ENDS use on changes in cigarette smoking. Methods: Our analysis included 11 996 participants who had two waves of available data (Wave 1 [W1] 2013-2014; Wave 2 [W2] 2014-2015) drawn from the longitudinal Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Cross-sectional weighted prevalence estimates are reported for cigarettes and ENDS. We used PSM to estimate the likelihood of ENDS use at W1 and to draw matched analytic samples, then used regression (logistic or linear) models to examine the effect of W1 ENDS use on W2 cigarette smoking. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: In weighted analyses, 69.3% of W1 past-30-day cigarette smokers exhibited past-30-day smoking at W2; 42.2% of W1 past-30-day ENDS users were using ENDS at W2. W1 ever use of either product was similarly associated with W2 new use of the other product. Unweighted PSM models indicated W1 cigarette-naïve ENDS use was associated with W2 ever-cigarette smoking (n = 676; adjusted odds ratio = 3.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.95 to 5.45, P <. 001); W1 ever-ENDS use did not affect change in cigarette frequency at W2 (n = 1020, beta = 0.31, 95% CI = -0.76 to 1.39, P =. 57); 1-5 days ENDS use compared with ever, no past-30-day ENDS use was associated with a statistically significant decrease of W2 smoking days (n = 256, beta = -2.64, 95% CI = -4.96 to -0.32; P =. 03); and W1 6+ day ENDS users did not show a decrease in frequency of cigarette smoking. Conclusions: Ever-ENDS use predicts future cigarette smoking, and frequency of ENDS use has a differential impact on subsequent cigarette smoking uptake or reduction. These results suggest that both cigarettes and ENDS should be targeted in early tobacco prevention efforts with youth.
Longitudinal tobacco use transitions among adolescents and young adults: 2014-2016
Prevalence and Correlates of Snuff Use, and its Association with Tuberculosis, among Women Living with HIV in South Africa
Re: Disregarding the impact of nicotine on the developing brain when evaluating costs and benefits of noncombustible nicotine products
Smoking Trajectory Classes and Impact of Social Smoking Identity in Two Cohorts of U.S. Young AdultsJohnson, A. L., Villanti, A. C., Williams, V., Rath, J. M., Vallone, D. M., Abrams, D. B., Hedeker, D., & Mermelstein, R. J.
Journal titleEmerging Adulthood
Page(s)258-269AbstractThis 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.
Study protocol for a telephone-based smoking cessation randomized controlled trial in the lung cancer screening setting: The lung screening, tobacco, and health trial
Transitions in electronic cigarette use among adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, Waves 1 and 2 (2013-2015)
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)
Correlates of transitions in tobacco product use by u.S. adult tobacco users between 2013–2014 and 2014–2015: Findings from the path study wave 1 and wave 2
Early Subjective Sensory Experiences with “Cigalike” E-cigarettes Among African American Menthol Smokers: A qualitative study
Harm Minimization and Tobacco Control: Reframing Societal Views of Nicotine Use to Rapidly Save Lives
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
Linking Global Youth Tobacco Survey Data to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: the Case for Egypt
Managing nicotine without smoke to save lives now: Evidence for harm minimization