New Haven, Conn. -- Yale Medical School researchers will examine why some smokers are resistant to current smoking cessation treatments with a $10 million grant from The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The five-year grant is part of an $84 million initiative by these three organizations to create national Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers (TTURC) for studying tobacco use, new ways to reduce its use and combat its consequences. Led by Principal Investigator Stephanie S. O'Malley, Ph.D., Yale's new TTURC center consists of a multidisciplinary group of scientists conducting five major tobacco research projects.
"The goal of our center is to improve tobacco addiction treatment by studying why current treatments fail and developing new behavioral and drug treatments that address these factors," said O'Malley, professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Substance Abuse Research at Yale Medical School. "It is critically important that more effective smoking cessation treatments be developed, because most smokers try to quit only once every three to four years."
Despite trends that show declining smoking rates in the general population, rates are declining less in female smokers, smokers with depression and smokers who are heavy drinkers. The five Yale studies will focus on these often-overlooked segments of the smoking population.
"Given societal pressures against smoking, the majority of current smokers are either in the process of quitting or interested in stopping, but many find it difficult to quit and are treatment resistant," said Marina Picciotto, assistant professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale. "In order to treat this group of smokers, we have to increase understanding of alcohol use and depression, which are known factors in treatment failure."