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NCI's state and community research initiative: a model for future tobacco control research
  1. April Roeseler1,
  2. Mark Meaney2,
  3. Meg Riordan3,
  4. Madeleine Solomon4,
  5. Sally Herndon5,
  6. Cynthia Hallett6
  1. 1California Tobacco Control Program, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, California, USA
  2. 2Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Washington DC, USA
  4. 4Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  5. 5Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Berkeley, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to April Roeseler, California Tobacco Control Program, California Department of Public Health, P.O. Box 997377, MS 7206, Sacramento, CA 95899-7377, USA; april.roeseler{at}

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Communicable disease outbreaks ranging from measles to the Zika virus capture media headlines every day; however, as a nation, Americans largely die from heart disease and cancer. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the USA.1 In 2016, more than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the USA and 595 690 cancer deaths will occur.1 Moreover, 30% of cancer deaths are attributable to smoking—which means these deaths are preventable.2 Reductions in cigarette smoking over the last 40 years have reduced cancer-related disease and deaths, and there is strong evidence that sustained comprehensive tobacco control programmes have accelerated declines in smoking-related cancers.3–6

By investing US$46 million in the State and Community Tobacco Control (SCTC) Research Initiative, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognised the power of population-based interventions to change the trajectory of cancer in the USA. Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health Impact Pyramid, these interventions reach broad segments of society, employ fewer resources than clinical and educational interventions and are highly effective at preventing cancer and other chronic diseases.7


The SCTC Research Initiative is remarkable for its vision and high-quality cross-collaboration among researchers and practitioners, which resulted in an extraordinary level of productivity and useful research. NCI rightfully deserves considerable praise for funding a research initiative that:

  • Focused on research topics highly relevant to SCTC efforts;

  • Actively engaged public health and legal practitioners and community members;

  • Supported meaningful cross-disciplinary research collaboration;

  • Fostered development of the next generation of investigators;

  • Advanced data collection methods;

  • Disseminated findings that extended beyond peer-reviewed literature to include policy reports, case studies, websites and videos;

  • Promoted transparency;

  • Laid the foundation for future research; and

  • Informed the decisions and actions of public health and policy officials and community organisations to prevent and reduce tobacco …

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