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HealthPartners Institute to study how tobacco cessation policies and the rise of e-cigarettes impact tobacco harms across United States

The project is funded by a $2.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health

August 4, 2022

Bloomington, Minn. – HealthPartners Institute recently received $2.7 million from the National Cancer Institute to study the benefits of various tobacco cessation policies, and whether e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems are increasing or decreasing the health and economic harms of tobacco use.

“We know cessation policies help people quit tobacco. There’s also some research that suggests e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. But, other data suggests e-cigarettes may entice some non-tobacco users to start, especially youth,” said Mike Maciosek, PhD, senior investigator at HealthPartners Institute and principal investigator on the project. “We’re going to model the relationship between many of the variables that influence different forms of tobacco use so we can better invest our resources to reduce the harms caused by tobacco.”

The research team will specifically look at state-level tobacco control policies, such as quit programs, and indoor smoking and vaping bans. While no state is implementing policies at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some have more comprehensive tobacco policies than others. This provides an opportunity to learn more about the effectiveness of different policies.

The modeling algorithms will also include state-level trends in electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use, and will explore how ENDS and intensified tobacco control policies are expected to impact health and health spending.

Rates of smoking have declined over the last several decades, reaching historic lows in 2020. The most recent data suggest that youth e-cigarette use has also declined. However, it’s unclear whether this is a temporary effect of the pandemic or a more permanent change.

The project will last 5 years and include researchers from the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital.

This study builds on tobacco simulation studies conducted by HealthPartners Institute that were funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Clearway Minnesota and the Truth Initiative, and uses the HealthPartners Institute ModelHealthTM: Tobacco microsimulation model.

Maciosek said, “We’re taking a more comprehensive state-by-state look at what policies most effectively reduce the population harms of tobacco in the era of e-cigarettes.”

About HealthPartners Institute

HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer governed nonprofit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with our members, patients and the community. HealthPartners Institute supports this mission through research and education—advancing care delivery and public health around the globe. The Institute annually conducts more than 350 research studies and trains 700+ medical residents and fellows and 1,200+ medical and advanced practice students. Its integration with HealthPartners’ hospitals, clinics and health plan strengthens the Institute’s ability to discover and develop evidence-based solutions and translate them into practice. Visit for more information.

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