University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Tobacco Control Program

S.Glantz Program Co-Leader Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The Tobacco Control Program includes 16 members from 6 academic departments in the UCSF Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. The overarching goal of the Program is to eradicate the use of tobacco and tobacco-induced cancer and other diseases worldwide.

The Tobacco Control Program conducts research under five themes:

  • Theme 1: Studies of Nicotine and Tobacco Effects, Metabolism, and Biomarkers, Including Second-hand Smoke
  • Theme 2: Clinical Interventions
  • Theme 3: The Economics of Tobacco Control
  • Theme 4: The Tobacco Industry
  • Theme 5: Descriptive and Epidemiological Studies

The Tobacco Control Program is the focal point for UCSF scientists in disciplines ranging from the molecular biology of nicotine addiction through political science. These scientists combine their efforts to eradicate the use of tobacco and tobacco-induced cancer and other diseases worldwide. A strong theme is that science-driven policy and public health interventions are key to ending the tobacco epidemic, as well as biological and clinical science. The role of the tobacco industry has been an important focus.

The specific scientific goals of the Tobacco Control Program are to (1) conduct clinical and laboratory investigations of the mechanisms of nicotine addiction; (2) further understand the effects of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, including genetic studies and investigations of racial and ethnic differences in measures of tobacco exposure and tobacco-related diseases; (3) develop and test innovative interventions for tobacco users, especially those in high-risk populations, including youth, individuals co-morbid with mental and substance abuse disorders, chronic smokers, and ethnic minorities; to provide estimates of the economic costs of tobacco use to society and the corresponding benefits of tobacco control programs; to conduct research on tobacco related policy and to continue to study the effects of the tobacco industry, both nationally and internationally, on tobacco use; and to better describe populations with high smoking rates, both in this country and internationally. Rather than being distinct areas of work, these investigations often interact with, and benefit from each other, spanning multiple disciplines. The expertise inherent of the Program membership supports the accomplishment of these goals. 

Links to More Tobacco-Control Resources at UCSF

Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education
The Center encompasses the work of 29 faculty members, their students, fellows and staff, who are committed to research, cessation, training and education designed each year.  This work extends from basic studies of nicotine pharmacology through the health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke to action-oriented policy interventions.

Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library is a digital library of internal tobacco industry documents from the files of top tobacco companies, made possible by the UCSF Library and the American Legacy Foundation. The library offers searching, viewing, and downloading of over 20 million documents, which relate to scientific research, manufacturing, marketing, advertising and sales of cigarettes, among other topics.

UCSF Tobacco Control Archives
Sponsored by the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, Department of Archives/Special Collections, this is a central, organized source of information with the purpose of collecting, preserving, and providing access to papers, unpublished documents, and electronic resources relevant to tobacco control issues, primarily in California.

Smoke Free Movies
Hollywood stars attract millions of moviegoers. Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown and Williamson, and other big tobacco companies then addict and kill them, making billions in profits. This site uncovers that story.

For years, the tobacco industry has used and abused the restaurant and bar industry to defend its own billions of dollars in profits. Get the facts on Big Tobacco’s scam.

Reports on Tobacco Control
Online library of reports on tobacco control from UCSF and beyond.

The UCSF TCORS, entitled “Improved Models to Inform Tobacco Regulation” (PI: Glantz), funded by the FDA through NIH in September, 2013 and involving many Tobacco Control Program Members, has now completed its first year of scientific effort.

Programmatic Themes

> Studies of Nicotine and Tobacco Effects, Metabolism, and Biomarkers, Including Second-hand Smoke
> Clinical Interventions
> The Economics of Tobacco Control
> The Tobacco Industry
> Descriptive and Epidemiological Studies

Theme 1: Studies of Nicotine and Tobacco Effects, Metabolism, and Biomarkers, Including Second-hand Smoke

Dr. Neal Benowitz continues to research the idea that gradual reduction of the nicotine content of cigarettes would reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes, resulting in fewer young people becoming addicted and more addicted smokers quitting. His group participated in a multi-centered trial examining smoking behavior and biomarkers of tobacco toxicant exposure in smokers randomized to cigarettes with various levels of nicotine for six weeks.

Theme 2: Clinical Interventions

Dr. Sharon Hall continues her work on smoking cessation interventions, in which follow-up data collection is nearly complete in two clinical trials. The first trial is an intervention to promote cessation in buprenorphine treatment patients.

Theme 3: The Economics of Tobacco Control

Dr. Max’s work in the past year has focused on estimating the cost of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure in California, analyzing the impact of smoking and secondhand exposure on the LGBT community, and leading a project in the UCSF TCORS. Together with colleagues, she prepared a report that presents smoking-related cost estimates for each of California’s 58 counties, indicating that the economic burden of smoking in CA in 2009 amounted to $18.1 billion, including healthcare costs of $9.8 billion.

Theme 4: The Tobacco Industry

Dorie Apollonio, in collaboration with Dr. Stanton Glantz and other colleagues, studied the relationship between the tobacco industry and term limits (Apollonio et al., Soc Sci Med, 2014), and the role of political advocacy on tobacco-related decisions in pharmacy settings.

Theme 5: Descriptive and Epidemiological Studies

Dr. Paul Blanc has conducted further epidemiological analysis characterizing the contribution to the burden of airway disease of occupational exposure and secondhand cigarette smoke (SHS), taking into account direct smoking effect. This work delineates that the effect of occupational exposure, in terms of COPD, is additive to that of direct cigarette smoking exposure, but also that adult SHS exposure also contributes to risk (Balmes et al., Environ Res, 2014, MacIsaac et al., J Occup Environ Med, 2014).

Dr. Pamela Ling, together with colleagues, published 21 papers in the past year, including findings that young adults attending bars and nightclubs continue to have extremely high tobacco use rates, and use more “other” tobacco products, such as hookah, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes (Lee et al., J Am Coll Health, 2014). Other papers reported that young adult bar patrons report high rates of alcohol and tobacco co-use (Jiang et al., BMC Public Health, 2014), that such co-use is prominent among those who identify as “social smokers” (Jiang et al., Prev Med, 2014), and that nondaily smokers were highly likely to purchase single “loosie” cigarettes in New York City.

Dr. Ruth Malone, together with colleagues, is engaged in four R01 investigations related to institutional influences on tobacco control, voluntary tobacco-related initiatives by business (McDaniel et al., PLoS One, 2014), tobacco control policy implementation in the US Military (Smith et al., N Engl J Med, 2014), and civilian participation in military tobacco control.