Did You Know? Innovation in Technology-Based Assessments of Tobacco Use Among Pacific Islanders

unnamedRecent prevalence data indicates that Pacific Islanders living in the United States have disproportionately high smoking rates when compared to the general populace. However, little is known about the factors contributing to tobacco use in this at-risk population. In order to address this issue, a customized Internet-based Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) system capable of measuring cigarette use among Pacific Islanders in Southern California was developed. A feasibility study assessed whether Pacific Islanders would respond to this method of measurement and whether the data gathered would lead to novel insights regarding the intrapersonal, social, and ecological factors associated with cigarette use. The feasibility study included 20 young adult smokers in Southern California who self-identified as Pacific Islanders and agreed to take part in a 7-day EMA study.  Using this approach, 720 surveys were completed from 840 survey time blocks, representing a completion rate of 86%. After adjusting for gender, age, and nicotine dependence, feeling happy or wanting a cigarette while drinking alcohol was positively associated with cigarette use. Being at home or being around people who are not smoking was negatively associated with cigarette use. The researchers concluded that such customized systems can be used to conduct technology-based assessments of tobacco use among Pacific Islanders.
Source: Pike et al. (2016). Developing an Internet- and Mobile-Based System to Measure
Cigarette Use Among Pacific Islanders: An Ecological Momentary
Assessment Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 4(1),e2.

Did You Know? – Smoking is a Robust Marker for Risk of Negative Outcomes in Racial/Ethnic Minority Youth


A newly published study examined how smoking may differentially relate to the emergence of disparities in functioning across races/ethnicities over adolescence. Youth (n = 2,509) were surveyed eight times from ages 11 to 18. Researchers measured cigarette use, academic and social functioning, mental and physical health, and delinquency.

Findings included: 

  • Youth were 45% Hispanic, 20% , 20% white, 10% multiethnic, 2% black, and 1% other ethnicities.
  • Higher average probability of smoking and steeper slopes of smoking trajectories were associated with poorer outcomes in multiple domains:

·        Black, Hispanic, and multiethnic youth reported lower academic performance.

·        Asian, black, and multiethnic youth reported higher academic unpreparedness.

·        Asian and multiethnic youth reported poorer mental health.

·        Asian, Hispanic, and multiethnic youth reported poorer physical health.

·        Asian youth reported higher delinquency and poorer social functioning.

The researchers concluded that racial/ethnic minority youth demonstrated poorer outcomes in multiple domains compared with white peers. Smoking may be a particularly robust marker for risk of negative outcomes in racial/ethnic minority youth.

Source: Dunbar et al. (2018). Ethnic Differences in Cigarette Use Trajectories and Health, Psychosocial, and Academic Outcomes. Journal of Adolescent Health, Mar, 62(3):327-333.

Read the abstract at https://www.tcspartners.org/login.cfm 

Did You Know? Striking Differences in Tobacco Use Prevalence and Tobacco Product Preferences among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs)

Data from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey were analyzed to examine differences in prevalence and consumption of various tobacco products among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs). 
Findings included: 
·         Ever use of cigarettes ranged from as low as 9% among Vietnamese respondents to as high as 48% among NHPIs.
·         Current use of cigarettes was least prevalent among Chinese (5%), Asian Indians (6%) and Vietnamese (7%) and most prevalent among Filipinos (14%), Koreans (15%), Japanese (19%) and NHPIs (20%). 
·         Current cigarette smoking was also more prevalent in males versus females in all ethnic groups except Chinese. Sex disparities in current cigarette smoking were most notable among Vietnamese and Asian Indians (with almost all male smokers), and among Koreans (approx. 17 point difference in smoking prevalence between males and females).
·         Preference for menthol cigarettes was slightly higher for AA and NHPI cigarette smokers overall (39%) compared to non AA and NHPI smokers (36%), and was particularly high for Filipino and NHPI cigarette smokers (45% and 46%, respectively). 
·         The prevalence of current hookah use varied greatly by ethnicity (ranging from as low as 0.4% among Filipinos to 14.6% among Koreans). 
·         Current cigar use was highest among NHPI (10%) and Japanese (8%) males.
·         Ever use of smokeless tobacco use was notably high among Japanese (42%) and NHPI males (29%).
The researchers concluded that community-based and regulatory approaches should be employed to reduce use of all tobacco products, especially among high prevalence subgroups.
Source: Mukherjea et al (2014). Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Tobacco Use Patterns. American Journal of Health Behavior, 38(3): 362–369.

Did You Know? – Youth Peer Crowd Identification Is Linked To Tobacco Use

cigaretteResearch has demonstrated that Hip Hop peer crowd identification, which is common among multicultural youth, is associated with increased risk of tobacco use. To address this, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products created Fresh Empire, the first national tobacco education campaign tailored for Hip Hop youth aged 12-17 who are multicultural (Hispanic, African American, Asian-Pacific Islander, or Multiracial). A recently published studyexamined peer crowd (Hip Hop, Mainstream, Popular, Alternative, Country) and cigarette smoking status among a nationally recruited sample of youth, aged 13-17. The study found that Alternative youth were most at risk of cigarette smoking, followed by Hip Hop. Specifically, Hip Hop youth were significantly more likely to be experimenters than Popular and Mainstream youth.

The researchers concluded that the current study underscores the potential utility of interventions tailored to larger at-risk crowds for campaigns like Fresh Empire.




There are organizations and individuals who are stepping up to change this statistic. On March 15th, 2018, Godfrey Ramos from The LOOP was invited to give a presentation at the 19th Annual Leaders in Life youth conference in Bakersfield. His workshop focused on how to use Hip Hop Culture as a tool to promote student led tobacco-free projects and dialogue. As a culture, Hip Hop consists of five core elements: Emceeing/Rappin, DJing, Graffiti Art, Breakdancing, and Knowledge. The workshop utilized these five elements to highlight strategies on how to get the word out to peers, and the community, about advocacy efforts that make sure youth voices are heard and a powerful story is told that shapes and influences decision-making. The workshop was attended by approximately 200 students, parents, educators, and community leaders.

To learn more about the Leaders in Life Youth conference, please visit: http://leadersinlife.org/


Walker et al. (2018). The Hip Hop peer crowd: An opportunity for intervention to reduce tobacco use among at-risk youth. Addictive Behaviors, Feb 10;82:28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.02.014. [Epub ahead of print]

Read the abstract at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29477904

LOOP Director Dr. Valerie Yerger wins 2018 UCSF Chancellor Award for Public Service!

ValCongratulations to our own Dr. Valerie Yerger for receiving the 2018 UCSF Chancellor Award for Public Service! Each year this award honors three (3) individuals—one faculty, one staff, one student/resident/postdoctoral scholar—who demonstrate outstanding service beyond the scope of their job, area of research, or training.
A special luncheon will be held as part of the UCSF Founders Day activities on Friday, May 11, 2018, to honor Dr. Yerger and the other award recipients.
Dr. Yerger’s name will be PERMANENTLY inscribed at UCSF to recognize her commitment toward saving lives!

The LOOP Team is extremely proud of our Director, Dr. Val, on this prestigious and well-deserved honor!

The Annual Tobacco Documents Workshop

Putting the tobacco industry’s words to work for you.

The UCSF Center for Tobacco and Disease Control Research and Education (CTCRE), an interdisciplinary research community, announces its one-day workshop on using tobacco industry documents for advocacy.

The Workshop will cover the following:

  • tobacco industry documents databases
  • multimedia database
  • hands-on practice searching
  • extracting key industry documents
  • how to use the documents to end the tobacco pandemic
  • brainstorm with document researchers and other advocates
  • opportunities to network

Keynote: Pamela Ling, MD, MDH – Professor of Medicine, Fellowship Director, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

The deadline for registration is Friday, April 13, 2018.

Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Space is limited to 40 participants. Meals and resource materials will be provided. All locations are ADA accessible.

Applications for a 2018 Truth Initiative Travel Scholarship to Increase Diversity may be requested. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Monday, March 26, 2018, 12:00 pm PST.

To Register for the workshop, please visit: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8HUl29BCY60NpDn

For information and application instructions, please visit:


Did You Know That Low SES is Linked to More Favorable Attitudes Toward Potential New Tobacco Regulations?

A newly published study examined attitudes toward four potential U.S. Federal tobacco regulations (banning menthol from cigarettes, reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes, banning candy and fruit flavored electronic cigarettes, and banning candy and fruit flavored little cigars and cigarillos) and associations with individual and state variables. A nationally representative phone survey of 4,337 adults assessed attitudes toward potential policies.

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Did You Know That Creating Geographically Uniform Tax Levels Could Reduce Disparities in Cigarette Smoking?

A recently published study (Preventive Medicine, December 2017) examined how cigarette excise tax rates differ for population groups defined by race, ethnicity, poverty status, and sexual orientation, and how these differences have evolved over time.
Findings included:
  • In 2014, the average U.S. resident was required to pay $2.68 in cigarette taxes, more than 60% of which was due to state and local taxation.
  • On average, Asian/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations faced the highest average tax ($2.95), which was $0.44 more than American Indian populations.
  • Local taxes disproportionately augmented state and federal taxes for non-White populations, same-sex couples, and people living in poverty.
  • Geographic variation in cigarette excise taxes produces sociodemographic variation in cigarette tax exposure.

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The LOOP Leadership Development Program Fellow Application

Health Education, Public Policy, Public Law, Law Enforcement, Public Relations, Journalists, Program Evaluation, Cessation Counselors, Community Health Advocates, Program Assistants, Program Managers

Though California is a national leader in tobacco control and enjoys one of the lowest smoking prevalence rates in America, not all of our communities have equally benefited. Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, and members of the military are just some of the groups that still have high smoking rates. There are complex reasons why some communities continue to bare a disparate tobacco related burden. An important part of the solution is the cultivation and training of leaders from these communities.

Because of the passage of California’s historic 2016 tobacco tax, thousands of jobs in tobacco control across the state of California will be created. The average student has little knowledge of these career opportunities. The LOOP Leadership Development Program (LDP) aims to build capacity by increasing knowledge and access to these opportunities. We are actively recruiting 12-16 “Fellows” to participate in a vigorous 8-week program. Once successful applicants complete the program they will receive a certificate of completion from the University of California, San Francisco. They will also have ongoing access to a cadre of mentorship and support. We want to help you develop your leadership skills as we guide you through a wide array of career boosting opportunities. Applicants who represent the populations most adversely targeted by Big Tobacco are strongly encouraged to apply.

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The LOOP Remembers Richard Barnes

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news that one of The LOOP’s technical assistance trainers (TAT), Richard Barnes, has recently passed away. When The LOOP first began back in 2014, Richard was one of the first individuals we invited to become a TAT not only because of his extensive experience and expertise in tobacco control advocacy, but also because of his warm and genuine character.

The LOOP has greatly benefitted from Richard’s contributions which include facilitating trainings around state and local policymaking, as well as the importance of media advocacy. Richard will always be remembered not only as a mentor, but as an inspiration for those committed to making the world a better place for all.

Richard – you will be dearly missed.

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