Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training


The Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training has a long-standing history of conducting cutting-edge tobacco treatment and control research in health care and community settings. Since its establishment in 1997 the Center Director, Research Program Director and staff have conducted research studies that have designed and investigated the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for the prevention and treatment of nicotine dependence in adolescents and pregnant smokers, policies affecting community-based tobacco treatment programs, and pharmacological treatments for adult populations. In addition, the Center Director has served as consultant on studies conducted by colleagues across the country.

A particular area of expertise for the Center researchers is adolescent nicotine dependence treatment. In one National Cancer Institute/NIH-funded trial of over 2700 adolescents we designed and evaluated a pediatric practice-based smoking prevention and cessation intervention consisting of provider advice and peer counseling by a college-aged ex-smoker. This intervention was found to be effective in preventing the initiation of smoking and in helping adolescent smokers quit in the short term (Pbert L, Flint AJ, Fletcher KE, Young MH, Druker S, DiFranza, J. Effect of a Pediatric Practice-Based Smoking Prevention and Cessation Intervention for Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics 2008;121(4):e738-e747). In a series of trials we have been collaborating with the School Health Unit of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), led by Anne Sheetz and Diane Gorak, to design and test a school nurse-delivered one-on-one intervention to assist adolescent smokers interested in quitting. In a pilot randomized controlled trial in 71 high schools with over 1000 adolescent smokers the intervention was found to significantly increase self-reported abstinence rates (Pbert L, Osganian V, Gorak D, Druker S, Reed G, O’Neil K, Sheetz A. A school-nurse delivered tobacco cessation intervention: A randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine 2006;43(4):312-320). Based on the promising results from this pilot study the Center received a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the NIH to even more rigorously evaluate the intervention (R01 CA114556), which is currently ongoing.

Future research plans for the Center include collaborating with the School Health Unit of the MDPH to evaluate different ways to disseminate the school nurse-delivered smoking cessation intervention nationwide if it is found effective in the current NIH-funded trial.