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Environmental exposure and toxicology

Support innovative and high impact research that advances policies to reduce environmental exposure to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke and its residue; assess and eliminate the environmental impact of cigarette waste; examine toxicology and the exposure science of new and emerging tobacco products.

The changing landscape of tobacco product availability has further complicated tobacco control, public understanding of risk evaluation and new policy approaches. In addition to combustible cigarette use, a plethora of new electronic tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes, “heat-not-burn” devices and “modified risk tobacco products” (MRTP), are now sold with claims to reduce risk from tobacco use or exposure. Scientific evaluation of these products is needed to better define exposure risks and toxicological profiles.

Co-use of cannabis (marijuana) and tobacco is expected to increase in California, as Proposition 64 now legalizes the recreational use of cannabis. Increased co-use in outdoor or indoor environments requires reassessment of potential exposure health risks. Novel and well-established evaluation methods are needed to characterize patterns of exposure and risk in these venues.This research priority is crucial to understanding how exposure to tobacco and its toxicants may lead to a toxicology paradigm that defines human health risk. TRDRP support will establish composite scientific evidence and assist policymakers in developing health-friendly strategies in environment and tobacco control.

Sub-focus areas

  • E-cigarettes, new products and indoor environment
  • Secondhand smoke (SHS)
  • Thirdhand smoke (THS)
  • Tobacco product waste pollution

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Examples of relevant research topics

  • Toxicity levels and markers of exposure to electronic cigarette constituents and aerosol.
  • Current local policy approaches to controlling aerosol and tobacco smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, indoor public spaces and other consumer settings such as cars, casinos and hotels.
  • Policies to minimize involuntary exposure to SHS and health risks in all public settings.
  • Characterization of biomarkers of exposure from all tobacco products.
  • THS, pathways of exposure characterization, risk evaluation and toxicology.
  • Approaches to public and community dissemination of THS science evidence.
  • Epidemiology of tobacco use and exposure, field measurements and factors of risk assessment.
  • Toxicology and risk profiles of new tobacco products.
  • New paradigms of exposure science related to cannabis.
  • Other environmental pollutants contributing to tobacco-related disease.
  • New product environmental wastes and bioaccumulation.
  • Environmental and economic impact of the production, sale and use of new products and their related waste.
  • New policy approaches to reduce or mitigate tobacco product waste at the municipal, county and state levels.

NOTE: TRDRP currently funds a statewide research consortium on thirdhand smoke research. TRDRP invites additional innovative research on THS under this call. Applicants who plan to pursue THS research are encouraged to conceptualize an approach that may benefit from the existing THS research capacity, infrastructure and methodologies generated through this consortium. Please contact TRDRP staff for additional information.

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