Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities 2018: Tobacco Regulatory Science

Preventive Medicine
Volume 117, Pages 1-114 (December 2018)

Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities 2018: Tobacco Regulatory Science
Edited by Stephen T. Higgins
This Special Issue of Preventive Medicine (PM) is the 5th in a series on behavior change, health, and health disparities. Unhealthy behavior patterns (i.e., lifestyle choices) including cigarette smoking and other substance abuse, physical inactivity, unhealthy food choices, and non-adherence with recommended medical regimens, undermine U.S. population health by increasing risk for chronic disease and premature death. This Special Issue brings together scholarly contributions from the emerging area of tobacco regulatory science to examine current topics of critical importance to reducing the burden of cigarette smoking on U.S. population health. More specifically, three related topics are examined including (a) the potential for reducing smoking by adopting a national policy that would cap the nicotine content of cigarettes at minimally-addictive levels; (b) increasing scientific understanding of cigarette smoking and other tobacco use among populations that are especially vulnerable to initiating smoking, tobacco addiction, and its adverse health consequences; and (c) the potential of a harm-reduction strategy for reducing the burden of smoking by advocating that those who are unwilling or unable to quit nicotine use substitute electronic cigarettes or other non-combusted sources of nicotine for cigarettes in order to avoid exposure to the other toxins in tobacco smoke that are most responsible for smoking morbidity and mortality. While tremendous progress has been made in reducing overall U.S. smoking prevalence and its adverse health impacts, more needs to be done. This Special Issue offers some ideas that have the potential to make a substantive contribution towards that goal.