Rutgers Researchers Receive $18 Million Grant for the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

The center will examine the effects of advertising, packaging, and labeling on perceptions, use, and exposure of tobacco products

Newswise — New Brunswick, NJ—A new $18 million center grant awarded to Rutgers and University of Pennsylvania Researchers will allow them to take aim at the effects of tobacco marketing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have renewed their commitment to the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) program and awarded a second cohort (TCORS 2.0) of Centers. The grant will support research in the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The grant will help the Penn/Rutgers TCORS conduct work for the next five years, supporting research that will provide data to protect public health and inform regulatory science issues related to tobacco control.

The center is focused on examining the effects of advertising, packaging, and labeling on perceptions, use, and exposure of combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigarillos. Rutgers researchers bring expertise in population surveillance and experimental survey methods, cigar policy, tobacco product risk perception, intentions, and use as well as tobacco industry advertising and marketing to better understand the impact of potentially misleading advertising claims, descriptors, labeling and packaging features of certain combustible tobacco products.

"The greatest contributor to tobacco caused disease is from cigarettes and other combustible products.  Tobacco regulatory science can inform FDA on future steps that can reduce harm from the most dangerous tobacco products and have the greatest potential to improve public health. We’ve assembled a stellar team of collaborative researchers who have been deeply committed to tobacco regulatory science since the passage of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” said Cristine Delnevo, PhD, MPH, Director of the Center for Tobacco Studies at Rutgers School of Public Health, Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Principal Investigator (PI), along with fellow-PI, Andrew Strasser, PhD, Director of the Biobehavioral Smoking Laboratory at Penn’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction

“Perceptions of risk and product expectations begin when individuals encounter product marketing and labeling.  We are taking a comprehensive approach to better understand the arc from advertising and packaging of combustible tobacco products, through use patterns and exposure,” said Dr. Strasser.

The center will focus on four primary projects and four cores, including:

  • A rigorous assessment of smoking behaviors, subjective responses and biological exposures to examine the effect of cigarette packaging on smoking low nicotine content cigarettes, an important interaction of two potential regulatory strategies.
  • Experimental analyses of low nicotine cigarette advertising and novel tobacco product marketing with an aim to identify how the public is misinformed about health risks.
  • Experimental analysis of how cigarillo packaging with varying colors, graphic designs, descriptors and warning labels influence perceptions and use.
  • Examining the effect of cigarette descriptors that can mislead about the health harms of tobacco products.
  • The cores will provide essential training and career enhancement opportunities; support for biosample, analytic and regulatory strategies to maximize the center’s contribution to the empirical knowledge base; and a continual surveillance of the tobacco industry’s marketing strategies for combustible tobacco products.

Collaborators with Dr. Delnevo at the Rutgers School of Public Health include Drs. Olivia Wackowski and Jane Lewis. Additional Penn project and core leaders include Drs. Janet Audrain-McGovern and Melissa Mercincavage in Psychiatry, and Dr. Joseph Cappella at the Annenberg School for Communication. The Penn-Rutgers TCORS will also collaborate with researchers at other institutions including, Columbia University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, University of Nevada-Reno and University of Vermont.


About Rutgers School of Public Health:

The Rutgers School of Public Health is New Jersey’s only accredited school of public health that seeks to improve health and prevent disease in diverse populations in New Jersey and around the world through educating students to become well-qualified and effective public health leaders, researchers, and practitioners; conducting research to advance public health science and policies; and providing service programs that promote population and individual health. Visit us at and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to learn how we're "keeping the public in public health."


About Center for Tobacco Studies:

For nearly two decades, the Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies has worked to promote and elevate research in tobacco use, policy, and marketing for the benefit of peer researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Their mission is to enhance the evaluation and surveillance of tobacco control as well as industry initiatives and strategies, by conducting research studies, that include primary and secondary data collection and analysis and qualitative and quantitative methods, and to translate and disseminate findings to program planners and policy makers. Their team of researchers conducts applied research of high quality, integrity, and innovation. Follow the Center for Tobacco Studies on Twitter.


  • share-facebook-Rutgers Researchers Receive $18 Million Grant for the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science
  • share-twitter-Rutgers Researchers Receive $18 Million Grant for the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science


step 2
Chat now!