Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer deaths. Encouraging and assisting cessation early in life is critical given that quitting by age 30 dramatically reduces the risk of cancer death. Community college students are a priority population given their high rate of smoking compared to other young adults and lack of effective cessation programs targeting this group. A challenge facing tobacco control research is engaging high-risk populations in smoking cessation programs. This proposal addresses these issues using a novel approach. The long-term goal of this career development award is to develop Carla J. Berg, Ph.D. as an independent translational cancer control researcher, combining innovative approaches to cancer prevention including tobacco industry market segmentation research to inform smoking cessation messages, eHealth intervention strategies, and tailored messaging aimed at cancer prevention, specifically tobacco control among underserved, high-risk young adults. Her short-term career goals are to transition into independent cancer prevention research. Over the five-year award period, she will develop a knowledge base to will support development and implementation of an effective eHealth smoking cessation intervention targeting community college smokers. Career development activities include training in market segmentation research, eHealth intervention development, health behavior theory, cancer prevention, and biological bases of nicotine dependence. The tobacco industry has used market segmentation research (identification of groups with similar interests, goals, and values) to promote the uptake of smoking. We propose to apply these same tactics to promote smoking cessation and use of cessation services.
We aim to develop and test the feasibility of using market segmentation to enhance tailoring as part of an eHealth cessation intervention. The plan involves 3 studies. Studies 1 (survey) and 2 (focus groups) aim to (1) identify market segments of community college smokers and quantitatively and qualitatively assess differences in smoking attitudes and behaviors;and (2) investigate preferred communication channels (internet, cell phone, etc.) for intervention delivery and appropriate messages for the intervention. In Study 3, we will conduct a 2-group randomized trial (n=95/group) comparing enhanced tailoring (based on market segment + smoking-related factors) vs. standard tailoring (smoking-related factors only) as part of an eHealth smoking cessation intervention. The primary outcome for this feasibility study will be website use over a 6-week intervention period. Secondary outcomes will include abstinence (both self-report and cotinine-validated) and message processing. This proposal is innovative and addresses important gaps in the literature, including adherence to online interventions and health risk behaviors among community college students (i.e., a high-risk, underserved group of young adults). These experiences will provide Dr. Berg with skills to launch an independent career as an eHealth cancer prevention researcher. The University of Minnesota is an excellent environment for this proposal given: (1) its standing as a national leader in tobacco and cancer research through its NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center;(2) the School of Public Health and its well-established program in eHealth research;(3) the strength of the Carlson School of Management, which houses the Institute for Research in Marketing;and (4) its network of Minnesota colleges to support this work. The team of mentors, Drs. Jasjit Ahluwalia, Lawrence An, and Barbara Loken are leaders in tobacco control research and underserved populations, eHealth research among young adult smokers, and anti-tobacco marketing strategies, respectively. Thus, the candidate, the environment, and the mentorship team (in conjunction with a strong Scientific Advisory Board) are well matched to address this research and career development plan.

Public Health Relevance

Given the recognized role of tobacco use in the development of cancer and the high rates of smoking among community college students, we aim to decrease the prevalence of smoking and smoking-related disease, particularly cancer, by using tobacco industry marketing research strategies to inform the development of a tailored online cessation intervention targeting community college students to enhance intervention use.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Perkins, Susan N
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Emory University
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Padilla, Mabel; Berg, Carla J; Schauer, Gillian L et al. (2015) Allowing cigarette or marijuana smoking in the home and car: prevalence and correlates in a young adult sample. Health Educ Res 30:179-91
Enofe, Nosayaba; Berg, Carla J; Nehl, Eric J (2014) Alternative tobacco use among college students: who is at highest risk? Am J Health Behav 38:180-9
Khariwala, Samir S; Scheuermann, Taneisha S; Berg, Carla J et al. (2014) Cotinine and tobacco-specific carcinogen exposure among nondaily smokers in a multiethnic sample. Nicotine Tob Res 16:600-5
Lewis, Michael; Wang, Yanwen; Berg, Carla J (2014) Tobacco control environment in the United States and individual consumer characteristics in relation to continued smoking: differential responses among menthol smokers? Prev Med 65:47-51
Berg, Carla J; Aslanikashvili, Ana; Djibuti, Mamuka (2014) A cross-sectional study examining youth smoking rates and correlates in Tbilisi, Georgia. Biomed Res Int 2014:476438
Tran, Alvin; Nehl, Eric J; Sales, Jessica et al. (2014) Problem Drinking Behaviors: Differential Effects of Stress and School Type on College Students. Open J Prev Med 4:216-221
Berg, Carla J (2014) Reasons for Nondaily Smoking among Young Adults: Scale Development and Validation. J Smok Cessat 9:17-25
Berg, Carla J; Goodwin, Sherell Brown; Stratton, Erin et al. (2014) Physical Activity and Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Black and White Female College Students at Two- and Four-Year Colleges and Universities. Open J Prev Med 4:229-239
Berg, Carla J; Lowe, Kincaid; Stratton, Erin et al. (2014) Sociodemographic, Psychosocial, and Health Behavior Risk Factors Associated with Sexual Risk Behaviors among Southeastern US College Students. Open J Prev Med 4:387-395
Berg, Carla J; Nehl, Eric J; Wang, Xiaodong et al. (2014) Healthcare provider intervention on smoking and quit attempts among HIV-positive versus HIV-negative MSM smokers in Chengdu, China. AIDS Care 26:1201-7

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