USC receives $12.8 million to study teen smoking

Research to support understanding of tobacco use and improve prevention efforts for Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders

The University of Southern California will establish a first-of-its-kind national center to examine tobacco use and prevention among teen-agers from Pacific Rim cultures, university researchers announced today.

The new Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) at USC will be funded by a $12.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The center will investigate how culture, immigration and adaptation to the American lifestyle affect smoking among Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino youth. Researchers will design and test effective ways to discourage smoking and examine the effects of environmental tobacco smoke.

It is one of only six such federally funded centers created nationwide, and the only one to look specifically at Asian, Pacific Islander and Latino issues -- the first major, comprehensive and long-range project on such issues funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"Tobacco-related diseases are a worldwide problem, affecting people from many cultures," said the new center's director, C. Anderson Johnson, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine and head of USC's Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. "Chronic diseases of lifestyle -- most of them originating largely from smoking -- have replaced acute diseases as the leading causes of death, even in developing countries."

Latino, Pacific Islander and Asian populations in California are growing rapidly. Together, they are expected to make up more than 60 percent of the state's population by 2025 -- up from 40 percent in 1995. They will comprise 75 percent of the state's public school population. California's school-based smoking prevention programs must start addressing the different c

Contact: Paul Dingsdale
University of Southern California

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