The overall goal of the Penn State Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) is to develop a leading state-of-the-art research and training infrastructure that will inform policy on the regulation of tobacco products. To achieve these goals, the PSTCORS is uniting the resources of the Penn State College of Medicine with the main University Park campus in State College, PA, Harvard University and George Washington University. A number of Penn State's facilities will be utilized to foster innovative research and training including a newly built smoking laboratory, MRI labs, and our NIH-funded Clinical &Translational Science Institute. The TCORS will allow us to add additional expertise, such as a Smoking Biomarkers Core Laboratory that will perform specialized assays for tobacco science for all TCORS. A central theme of our TCORS is the study of tobacco regulatory science in vulnerable (e.g. low socioeconomic status, mental disorders) and minority populations. This will be accomplished through three complementary research projects that share common methodologies, common core multidisciplinary approaches, and common leadership with the overarching aim of relevancy for tobacco regulatory policies. Penn State University recognizes the more general needs of a Centers for Excellence for tobacco regulatory research in general and strongly supports interdisciplinary efforts and diversity in both its research and its training and educational programs. This commitment will be realized through the development of a dedicated educational program for tobacco regulation scholars and a pilot project program that fosters innovative ideas and research methods for testing and studying tobacco harm. The Penn State World Campus will facilitate our efforts in training young scientists in tobacco regulatory research and collaborating with other TCORS. These efforts are designed to sustain the TCORS concept in the future.
Cigarettes constitute 90% of all combustible tobacco smoke products consumed in the United States and are the single most important cause of avoidable diseases. The Penn State TCORS will evaluate the health effects of switching smokers from their usual cigarettes to reduced nicotine cigarettes on nicotine dependence and tobacco harm. If safe and effective, this strategy will have large public health benefits.
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