Oct. 9, 2023
Ahead of FDA ban, a new project will assist providers in helping patients quit menthol cigarettes
The project led by researchers at VCU and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is supported by a new $3 million grant.
Share this story
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it is finalizing plans to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In anticipation of the ban, a new project led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is aiming to support health care providers across the country to help their patients quit.
The researchers will work in partnership with the National Medical Association with the goal of increasing rates of smoking cessation and lung cancer screening among Black adults who smoke menthol-flavored combustible commercial tobacco products.
The three-year project was awarded a $3 million grant by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health to develop and test a culturally relevant online educational module for providers to prepare them to help smokers quit and connect with lung cancer screening services. The study also aims to help providers and patients overcome social structural barriers that impede quitting and screening.
“While we anxiously await a final rule from the FDA about a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, our team is aware that we cannot operate as if this ban will be implemented in a manner that will minimize loopholes that industry will inevitably exploit or that it will be a panacea to end tobacco-related health inequities,” said co-project lead Mignonne C. Guy, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences. “Because we cannot rest, we are thrilled to partner with the National Medical Association, one of the primary professional organizations to support a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, and so many other community partners to develop meaningful interventions that can reduce tobacco-related health inequities among Black adults who smoke these products.”
The grant was awarded to the Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice, which is a collaboration of researchers at VCU, UAMS and East Carolina University, and is one of 11 Centers for Multiple Chronic Diseases Associated with Health Disparities funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
The center employs a social justice framework to conduct research, engage communities and build a diverse and competent research workforce to reduce disparities in cancer and cardiovascular disease among Black adults and those residing in rural areas of Arkansas and Virginia. The center is designed to become a national model for eliminating chronic disease disparities using social-justice-informed research, training and community engagement.
VCU is the lead institution for the project. In addition to Guy, the project will be led by Ashley Clawson, Ph.D., and Pebbles Fagan, Ph.D., of UAMS, and collaborators include Yolanda Lawson, M.D., president of the National Medical Association; East Carolina University; the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas; Gary Flowers of the Gary Flowers Radio Show in Richmond; Ruofei Du, Ph.D., and Mohammed Orloff, Ph.D., of UAMS; Eric Soule, Ph.D., of ECU; Derek Griffith, Ph.D., of Georgetown University; and A. Phoenix Mathews, Ph.D., of Columbia University.
Subscribe to VCU News
Subscribe to VCU News at newsletter.vcu.edu and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox.