An official American thoracic society research statement: Current understanding and future research needs in Tobacco control and treatment

Frank T. Leone, Kai Hakon Carlsen, Patricia Folan, Karen Latzka, Alfred Munzer, Enid Neptune, Smita Pakhale, David P.L. Sachs, Jonathan Samet, Dona Upson, Alexander White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: Since the mid-20th century, the scientific community has substantially improved its understanding of the worldwide tobacco epidemic. Although significant progress has been made, the sheer enormity and scope of the global problem put it on track to take a billion lives this century. Curbing the epidemic will require maximizing the impact of proven tools as well as the development of new, breakthrough methods to help interrupt the spread of nicotine addiction and reduce the downstream morbidity. Methods: Members of the Tobacco Action Committee of the American Thoracic Society queried bibliographic databases, including Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Collaborative, to identify primary sources and reviews relevant to the epidemic. Exploded search terms were used to identify evidence, including tobacco, addiction, smoking, cigarettes, nicotine, and smoking cessation. Evidence was consolidated into three thematic areas: (1) determinants of risk, (2) maternal-fetal exposure, and (3) current tobacco users. Expert panel consensus regarding current gaps in understanding and recommendations for future research priorities was generated through iterative discussion. Results: Although much has been accomplished, significant gaps in understanding remain. Implementation often lags well behind insight. This report identifies a number of investigative opportunities for significantly reducing the toll of tobacco use, including: (1) the need for novel, nonlinear models of population-based disease control; (2) refinement of "real-world" models of clinical intervention in trial design; and (3) understanding of mechanisms by which intrauterine smoke exposure may lead to persistent, tobacco-related chronic disease. Discussion: In the coming era of tobacco research, pooled talent from multiple disciplines will be required to further illuminate the complex social, environmental and biological codeterminants of tobacco dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e22-e41
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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