Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Tobacco

Despite major gains in the tobacco control and prevention movement, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and globally. Today, tobacco is the only legal substance that, when used as intended, kills 6.3 million people per year. Cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually, and a major contributor to the global pandemic of non-communicable diseases. 

The Public Health Institute believes that tobacco use remains a major public health and health equity concern. PHI applies its expertise in the economics of tobacco control to advance policies to reduce smoking in various countries around the world. Our experts are available to support your work in researching the economic and health impacts of tobacco use in order to inform prevention and policy strategies, from the local to federal levels. We also specialize in evaluating new approaches to prevention and treatment; building capacity by training the next generation of top-notch investigators in tobacco control research; and providing technical assistance to health care providers and institutions, policy makers, health departments, ministries, and community advocates working to reduce rates of smoking. 

Our expertise includes:

  • Research: We specialize in research that explores health outcomes, disparities, and tobacco—highlighting the role of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status in tobacco marketing and use.  
  • Litigation settlements: PHI has experience working with private attorneys, government agencies and public health organizations to use litigation settlement funds to improve public health, including tobacco cases. 
  • Advancing tobacco-related policy: PHI experts are well-versed in developing effective tobacco prevention policies, as well as working with multi-sector advocacy coalitions and community members to advance local, state, and national policies to promote smoke-free environments. 
  • Training and consultation: Our staff is available to train tobacco control researchers, advocacy groups, and coalitions, and provide continuing consultation for ongoing campaigns. 

HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER? SEND US AN EMAIL.


 

Resources and Tools

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Experts

Teh-wei Hu

Teh-wei Hu, PhD, is director of PHI's Center for International Tobacco Control. Hu's areas of expertise are the application of econometrics...

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Programs

Alcohol Research Group

Established in 1959, the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), now of the Public Health Institute, conducts and disseminates high-quality research on the&n...

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Center for International Tobacco Control

In Asia, the two largest consumers of tobacco are China and Indonesia, together representing 412 million smokers. The Center for International Toba...

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Health Spectrum Program

Using a multi-dimensional emphasis that encompasses geographical, age, gender, socio-economic status, and race and ethnicity categories, the Health...

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Survey Research Group

The Survey Research Group (SRG) conducts population based health-related surveys, using one of the country's most technologically advanced call...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Building the Global Movement for Smoke-Free Environments

PHI has trained physicians, health officials and ministries of health from countries as diverse as Brazil, Egypt and China in the development and implementation of smoke-free policies.

 

Partnering With Youth Journalists to Investigate How e-Cigarettes Are Marketed Towards Young People

Menthol is the most abundant flavor of e-cigarettes sold in Oakland and Bay Area local markets, pharmacies and liquor stores—and the flavors and colors clearly target minors, youth and small children. That's one of the findings from the youth-led Marketing E-Cigarettes Toward Adolescents (M.E.T.A.) project, from PHI's California Adolescent Health Collaborative in partnership with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Through PhotoVoice, a community-based participatory research method, youth journalists explored the topic through their own eyes and their communities, and found opportunities for community education, local advocacy with businesses, and policy ideas for tobacco reduction. 

The youth journalists identified new ways that retail stores and tobacco companies target adolescents, and the findings directly affected local policy advocacy efforts—eventually helping to lead to the passage of a tobacco flavors ban in the City of Oakland. Youth co-researchers also testified at hearings and advocated for flavors bans in San Francisco, Oakland and San Leandro.

Learn more about this project in a video exploring how youth researchers used PhotoVoice to investigate how youth perceive e-cigarettes and their marketing in Oakland.

Turning Cutting-Edge Tobacco Research into Sound Health Policy

By gathering substantial research on the benefits of increasing the tax on tobacco in China and disseminating these findings to policymakers, there was an increased willingness to use taxation as a tool for tobacco control. Extensive research and simulations demonstrated that an increase of 1 RMB (.15 USD) in excise taxes on cigarettes would save 3 million lives and raise RMB 64.9 billion (9.5 billion USD) in additional revenue for the government. CITC’s recommendation was adopted by the WHO, the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Bank. China subsequently raised its tobacco tax in 2009 and 2015, which will create long term health benefits for both smokers and their communities impacted by second-hand smoke.