USC receives $12.8 million to study teen smoking

October 17, 1999



Research to support understanding of tobacco use and improve prevention efforts for Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders


The University of Southern California will establish a first-of-its-kind national center to examine tobacco use and prevention among teen-agers from Pacific Rim cultures, university researchers announced today.

The new Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) at USC will be funded by a $12.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The center will investigate how culture, immigration and adaptation to the American lifestyle affect smoking among Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino youth. Researchers will design and test effective ways to discourage smoking and examine the effects of environmental tobacco smoke.

It is one of only six such federally funded centers created nationwide, and the only one to look specifically at Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino issues -- the first major, comprehensive and long-range project on such issues funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"Tobacco-related diseases are a worldwide problem, affecting people from many cultures," said the new center's director, C. Anderson Johnson, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine and head of USC's Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. "Chronic diseases of lifestyle -- most of them originating largely from smoking -- have replaced acute diseases as the leading causes of death, even in developing countries."

Latino, Pacific Islander and Asian populations in California are growing rapidly. Together, they are expected to make up more than 60 percent of the state's population by 2025 -- up from 40 percent in 1995. They will comprise 75 percent of the state's public school population. California's school-based smoking prevention programs must start addressing the different cultures, lifestyles, issues and experiences of immigrant teen-agers, Johnson said.

Researchers, from anthropologists and statisticians to physicians and public health specialists, will unite through the center to uncover the subtle and complex effects of mingling cultures, acculturation, advertising and media, and social networks among teen-agers.

Issues may be different for Mexican immigrant youth than for second-generation Mexican Americans, for example. Chinese-American youth living in multicultural areas may face different pressures than Chinese teen-agers in mostly Chinese neighborhoods. Researchers have found that Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians, as well as South Americans, tend to smoke a lot when they first arrive in the United States, but smoke less over time. Chinese and Mexican youth, meanwhile, tend to smoke more as they ease into American life.

Center researchers will try to determine what accounts for such differences.

They will investigate how culture, cultural transition, genetics and individual behavior affect smoking.

They will conduct trials to assess new ways to discourage tobacco use and track population characteristics and trends in California and the Pacific Rim, to better tailor prevention trials to specific cultures within Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino groups.

They will develop user-friendly databases on tobacco prevention and demographics for others to share.

They will encourage tobacco programs from outside USC to draw on research from the center.

They will encourage public policymakers to use the center's findings to focus new tobacco laws, guidelines and programs.

Center scientists will work with youths in 62 middle schools throughout California, Hawaii, and the city of Wuhan in central China. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, Ph.D., MPH, research assistant professor in preventive medicine, will lead community outreach efforts. She has worked in tobacco education among Latino groups since 1989.

USC investigators at the tobacco center also will form a unique collaboration with health officials in China to uncover solutions to smoking problems among the Chinese, Johnson said. About 70 percent of Chinese men smoke, and the nation has few governmental resources to combat the habit. Li Yan, M.D., chief physician and director of the Public Health and Anti-Epidemic Station in Wuhan, is working with USC researchers to coordinate projects involving smokers in China.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of illness in the United States. One of every five deaths -- more than 400,000 lives lost each year -- is due to diseases linked to smoking, American Lung Association statistics indicate. Smoking has also become the leading preventable cause of death in China, where smoking onset is occurring at increasingly younger ages in boys and girls.

The new center will operate through USC's Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, a unique unit celebrating its 20th year and drawing on faculty from varied disciplines, including communication, education, film, psychology and medicine. The institute, which has a strong record of health promotion efforts relating to tobacco, also is linked to such important USC resources as the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the new USC Neurogenetics Institute. The center will be housed on or adjacent to the USC Health Sciences Campus.
-end-


University of Southern California

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.