Ohio State seeking 2K families with teenage boys for tobacco usage study

Published 9:27 am Monday, June 22, 2015

COLUMBUS — Researchers with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) and College of Public Health are looking for approximately 2,000 families to participate in a study aimed at understanding why people start using tobacco and how tobacco use changes overtime.

Known at the Buckeye Teen Health Study, the research project is one of three underway with funding from the university-wide Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS).

Previous long-term population studies of adolescents have characterized predictors of smoking and the trajectories that lead to daily smoking and nicotine dependence but there is very little research on smokeless tobacco, dual use of these products with cigarettes and electronic cigarette use.

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“We know that tobacco addiction often begins in youth – nine out of 10 adult smokers in Ohio began smoking before age 18,” says Peter Shields, MD, co-principal investigator of the Buckeye Teen Health Study and deputy director of the OSUCCC – James. “Smokeless tobacco products are especially concerning because they very attractive to youth and tobacco companies actively deploy marketing tactics aimed at encouraging dual use of smokeless tobacco with cigarettes to this audience. In addition, e-cigarettes have gained such rapid popularity that the medical community hasn’t had time to assess their health risks.”

Researchers expect the study to yield comprehensive data about the predictors of smokeless tobacco use as well as the dual use of smokeless tobacco and cigarettes in teenage boys that does not exist now.

This includes analysis of environmental and sociocultural influences of initiation and nicotine dependence of multiple tobacco products, carcinogen exposure and the genetics of taste and tobacco dependence.

“This study is aimed at helping us understand the social, psychological and environmental influences that lead individuals to engage in tobacco use so we can recommend science-backed approaches to discourage tobacco use and, ultimately, improve the health of individuals in our community,” explains Amy Ferketich, PhD, principal investigator of the study and a professor in the College of Public Health. Ferketich is a member of the OSUCCC — James Cancer Control Research Program.

Study Design and Eligibility

Families with a male child between the ages of 11 and 16 in the Ohio counties of Brown, Franklin, Guernsey, Lawrence, Muskingum, Scioto, and Washington can volunteer to participate in Buckeye Teen Health Study. Initially, participants will be followed for three years. Participating families will be compensated for their time as part of this study.

Researchers will track participant health behaviors through a combination of in-person home visits and questionnaires to help understand why people start using tobacco and how tobacco use changes over time. Participants will be asked to answer questions about their diet, alcohol consumption and tobacco use as well as other health behaviors.

A portion of study participants will be asked to answer questions about consumer advertisements. Urine and spit samples will also be collected from this group.

Researchers stress that privacy for the teens involved in the study is a priority and critical to the study’s success.

“Most parents probably wouldn’t hesitate to enroll their teen in a study that tracks their potential usage of tobacco and alcohol — but the goal here is to gather honest answers from teens about health behaviors and choices. Allowing them to give that feedback in a safe, judgment-free environment is very important” says Shields.

To accomplish this, the Buckeye Teen Health study was designed so that teens can answer questions about health behaviors in private (either asked from a computer audio survey via headphones or over the phone.) Information given by the teens will not be reported back to the parents.

Participation is expected to require less than 10 hours per family over the course of three-years. To enroll or for more information about the Buckeye Teen Health Study, call 1-844-678-2847.

About CERTS, Ohio State’s Tobacco Research Center

CERTS is one of 14 centers nationwide dually funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a new federal initiative aimed at putting science behind the FDA’s role in regulating tobacco.

The university-wide research program takes into account the biological, psychological, economic and public health implications associated with tobacco use and the industry’s marketing of products to consumers. CERTS includes a total of 18 scientists from six colleges and The OSUCCC-James.

Through CERTS, Ohio State aims to reduce tobacco addiction and shed light on health problems arising from tobacco use among youths and adults in rural and urban settings. Researchers also hope to decrease tobacco-related harm by studying individual disease risk and the prevalence of tobacco product use – with a focus on dual use (smokeless tobacco and cigarettes) and new and emerging tobacco products like e-cigarettes.

About The OSUCCC – James

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment.

Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only four centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. As the cancer program’s 306-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News and World Report and has achieved Magnet designation, the highest honor an organization can receive for quality patient care and professional nursing practice.

At 21 floors with more than 1.1 million square feet, The James is a transformational facility that fosters collaboration and integration of cancer research and clinical cancer care. For more information, please visit cancer.osu.edu.