Current CST Research Projects

    • CHARM: CHARM is a research study that wants to find out how African American women smokers view tobacco products and their thoughts about using certain products to help them quit or reduce their smoking.
    • F R E S H : The F R E S H, Families Rising to Enforce Smoke-free Homes, research study is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Tobacco at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. This research study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at UAMS.

Contextual Knowledge Core
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products

The Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP) brings together a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff from VCU, American University of Beirut, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the University of Southern California, as well as several other U.S. and international universities and organizations to focus on an issue of immediate concern to public health —the regulation of tobacco products. The CSTP seeks to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with hypothesis-driven data regarding advanced generation ECIGs and test predictions about some potential regulations now, while developing a model that can be used to shape, refine and predict the effects of many potential regulatory actions in the future. Overall, CSTP’s integrative theme of impact analysis draws on our expertise in tobacco product toxicity, user behavior and abuse liability to provide FDA tools that can be used to guide regulation development so that, by the time a regulation goes into effect, methods predictive of population-level phenomena have tested it, refined it and generated data that show its health-promoting effects are maximized and unintended consequences are minimized.

Because Projects 1-4 involve manipulating ECIG device/liquid characteristics and/or collecting data from ECIG users, all require detailed and up-to-date knowledge of ECIG user behavior, as well as ECIG characteristics, effects and changing consumer and ECIG manufacturer/distributor behaviors. Changes can be rapid, so this information is often difficult to attain using data from annual national surveys.

In this context, the overarching goal of the Contextual Knowledge Core (CKC) is to support each project by using a combination of concept mapping and online data sources to inform Projects 1-4 so testing conditions and data collection instruments reflect current, real-world conditions.

The team’s prior studies used several methods to understand ECIG effects and user and manufacturer behavior, using strategies such as a cost- and time-efficient participatory online method known as “concept mapping”; content analysis of a popular online video sharing site (YouTube); and systematic analyses of online forums, and manufacturer/distributor retail outlets to understand ECIG use behaviors, consumer engagement and industry labeling practices. Collectively, these methodological approaches can inform CSTP study designs, measurement instruments and hypotheses.

The CKC’s aims are to inform Projects 1-4 using: (1) concept mapping, (2) systematic and longitudinal surveillance of online data sources like YouTube and ECIG forms and (3) systematic and longitudinal surveillance of ECIG online retail sites. In sum, the CKC draws on the team’s proven expertise to ensure Projects 1-4 use detailed, up-to-date information to guide device/liquid manipulations and assessment instruments. As with prior studies, the CKC will produce novel, publishable information about real-world ECIG user experience as well as user and manufacturer/distributor behavior that will inform FDA about future regulatory action.