Tobacco Research Programs News

Dana Carroll featured in UofM Legacy publication 
Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Dana Carroll, Tobacco Research Programs' faculty member and assistant professor in the School of Public Health, has been featured in the UofM Legacy publication for her work with Dorothy Hatsukami, Forster Family Chair in Cancer Prevention and director of the Tobacco Research Programs, and with American Indian tribes and communities to develop community-driven approaches to reducing the effects of tobacco. 

The full article can be found here.

COVID-19 Update 
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

The studies Tobacco Research Programs are currently conducting have been modified to protect our study Participants and Staff from COVID-19. To that end we have implemented virtual visits to collect some of the study data and minimized the amount in-person contact.  

Participants are now:

  • required to wear a mask when in the building; masks are available from your study coordinator upon request.
  • requested to inform us if they have recently been in proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if they themselves are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • requested to sanitize hands prior to and after the visit as a best practice for safety; hand sanitizer is available at the Info Desk and throughout the clinic.

We're all looking forward to the time when normal study functions can resume and, until then, our focus is on Participant and Staff safety. We appreciate your interest in our studies!

American Cancer Society's Article on COVID-19 and Tobacco Use
Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Dr Jeffrey Drope from the American Cancer Society has posted an article titled "What We Know about Tobacco Use and COVID-19" on their website to answer the most common questions around the connection between tobacco use and COVID-19. The information is drawn from early studies from China and Italy where male smokers have shown a higher hospitalization rate for COVID-19-related illness. For more information, please visit their website:


Vaping Article in UofM Alumni Association's Discovery Magazine   
Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Congratulations to Dr Irina Stepanov, Assistant Professor in the UofM Division of Environmental Health Science at the School of Public Heatlh, for the article in this month's UofM Alumni Association's Discovery publication! Her work in studying vaping is highlighted here: 

COVID-19 News Update     

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Thank you for your interest in our research. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, for the health and safety of our study participants and staff, Tobacco Research Programs has suspended all in-person studies until further notice. For current participants, your study coordinator will reach out to you to wrap up your study participation. 

We are continuing to recruit for several studies and are able to pre-screen you over the phone. If you are eligible, we will place you on a wait-list until we are allowed by the University of Minnesota to resume our studies that involve clinic visits. Once we are able to start up again, we will contact you and schedule your first visit if you are still interested.

Additionally, we’re looking for ways to conduct studies online and/or virtually. Please check back to our webpage for further updates. Thank you for your participation!


Alert to Current Vaping Health Concerns

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several states, and federal health departments are investigating a multi-state outbreak of severe lung disease associated with using e-cigarette/vaping products. The investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all cases have reported use of vaping devices. The majority of patients have reported vaping cannabis oil, such as THC, obtained on the black market or other sources. In addition, most of those samples with THC tested also contained significant amounts of vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is a substance present in topical consumer products or dietary supplements, but data are limited about its effects after inhalation.

The FDA has advised consumers to protect themselves by not using vaping products of any kind obtained off the street and to refrain from using THC oil or modifying/adding any substance to vaping products purchased at stores. 

To date, the investigation has not identified any single substance or e-cigarette product that has been consistently associated with illness. While this investigation is ongoing, if you are concerned about the health risks, consider not using e-cigarette products.

If you continue to use vaping device/e-cigarette products, you should watch for unexpected symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, weight loss) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. The FDA also encourages you to report this information, including providing any associated product, to your state or local health departments. Reporting to your state or health departments is crucial as federal and state partners work together to have accurate case identification and reported case counts. For more information regarding state and local health department directories, please refer to:

You can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

For additional information, please visit the following websites:

CDC: Outbreak of Lung Illness Associated with Using E-cigarette Products

FDA: Lung Illnesses Associated with Use of Vaping Products


U of M Expert: Vaping's Possible Connection to Lung Disease

Dr. Irina Stepanov from the Tobacco Research Programs discusses the recent reports of vaping-related lung diseases. Check out the report here: TRP Vaping News 


Heated Tobacco Devices--What Are They & How Do They Work

Check out this Q&A with Dr. Irina Stepanov from the Tobacco Research Programs!