Rutgers researchers received $2.6 million NCI grant to assess re-ignition behavior in people who smoke


Newswise – The Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies at the State University of New Jersey has received a $2.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to evaluate cigarette relighting – the practice of smoking a cigarette, extinguishing it and relighting it to smoke – as well as its consequences on health and efforts to quit smoking.

The four-year study, titled “Evaluating Cigarette Relighting Behavior: Prevalence, Correlates, Toxicant Exposure, and Implications for Cessation,” will examine a variety of factors in more than 6,000 adults aged 21 and older across the United States. .

The grant was awarded to Michael Steinberg, MD, MPHprofessor and chief of general internal medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and medical director of the Center for Tobacco Studies at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences; Carolyn Heckman, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and co-lead of the cancer prevention and control program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey; and Irina Stepanov, Ph.D.Mayo Professor of Public Health in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of the Institute for Global Cancer Prevention Research, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

The team of researchers in this study will investigate whether income, education, employment status, or other factors make a smoker more likely to engage in re-ignition behavior. Researchers will also examine what the health implications of re-ignition are, how behavior may play a role in a smoker’s treatment protocol, and how it may affect a person’s ability to quit.

The Center for Tobacco Studies has been in existence for nearly two decades. The center evaluates tobacco control initiatives and strategies at the local, state, and national levels, conducts tobacco monitoring and surveillance, engages in research to improve tobacco monitoring and surveillance, and translates and disseminates findings from research to practitioners and policy makers.

The Rutgers Tobacco Addiction Program (TDP), part of the Center for Tobacco Studies, has provided treatment to nearly 10,000 tobacco users in New Jersey and beyond since 2000. Through this work, Steinberg and his TDP colleagues noticed that a significant number of smokers, nearly half of their patients, relit on their cigarettes.

“We have very little evidence as to how often people relight their cigarettes, why people might relight their cigarettes, what exposure and toxins people who relight their cigarettes might experience, and how relighting cigarettes might affect their success in quitting smoking. . The study aims to explore all of these aspects,” said Steinberg, who is also a research fellow with the Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Clinical Investigations and Precision Therapy Program.

According to Heckman, there are three phases of the study. The first includes a national survey of smokers that will study re-ignition behavior, determine how common a re-ignition habit is and what demographic and other factors may play a role in the behavior. The second phase will examine biological factors, such as the levels of toxins found in re-lit cigarette smoke and the topography of smoking. Smoking topography is how people smoke cigarettes and includes measures such as the number of puffs per cigarette, the depth of inhalation, and the number of sessions required to smoke a single cigarette. This will be examined in a laboratory study involving participants from the University of Minnesota led by Stepanov. The third phase of the study will gather information on how behavior can impact the types of treatment in re-igniting smokers and how it affects the success of patients trying to quit.

“We will ask patients about their re-ignition behavior, their attempts to quit smoking, and the medications they use, as we believe that re-ignition may be associated with difficulty quitting smoking,” Heckman said.

The question “How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?” is the current metric against which smoking exposure is measured. According to Heckman, this study can help healthcare professionals determine whether current national surveys and treatment protocols are underestimating patient exposure.

Steinberg noted, “Based on this work, we could propose that national surveys ask questions that are more like ‘how many smoking sessions do you have per day?’ “”

Steinberg also noted that in terms of treatment, “we dose our drugs based on the number of cigarettes smoked per day and use that as a marker of how dependent people are. If it turns out that we’re getting an underestimate of someone’s degree of addiction, we might be underdosing their treatment and that might make it harder for people to quit.

The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01CA260831. The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


About Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the preeminent and comprehensive public institution of higher learning in the state of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, the university is the eighth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. More than 70,000 students and 23,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff learn, work and serve the public at Rutgers locations in New Jersey and around the world.

As the state’s premier public research university, Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence, conducting cutting-edge research that innovates and helps the economy, business and industry state, and to provide services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.


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