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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which diseases the Surgeon General has found to be causally linked to the use of tobacco or tobacco-related products?

The Surgeon General’s Reports on Smoking and Tobacco Use serve as a reference for comprehensive analyses of those diseases that are causally linked to smoking and tobacco use. Please note that an individual report may not include information on all tobacco related diseases.  You may need to consult several volumes in order to determine whether your disease of interest has been causally linked to the use of tobacco or tobacco-related projects.

How do I determine whether the sex of an animal model or human subject should be considered as a biological variable in my research?

Consistent with NIH, we now require applicants proposing experiments with biological endpoints to determine whether the sex of an animal model or human subject should be considered a biological variable in designing their experiments.
As explained in “Applying the new SABV (sex as a biological variable) policy to research and clinical care,” Physiology & Behavior 187 (2018) 2–5 “Sex originates from an organism’s sex chromosome complement – XX or XY chromosomes in in humans, and is reflected in the reproductive organs. Considering SABV is not the same as looking for sex differences, but it is about exploring the influences of sex as a biological variable and revealing the “data hiding in plain sight.” Applicants can review the paper in Physiology & Behavior here:
The following points are taken verbatim from the article:
  • First, before conducting research, find out whether there are known sex differences in the area of study by adding the terms sex, gender, male, and female to your literature search. In addition to PubMed, use the GenderMed database.
  • Second, randomize and balance the sexes in the study and control groups. If you are testing a pharmaceutical, consult the FDA snapshot page, which provides information about sex differences in drug metabolism and effects for recently approved drugs.
  • Third, if sex differences are suspected, e.g., from the literature search, conduct pilot studies to determine whether powering the study to detect sex differences is warranted.
  • Fourth, in the analyses of the data, regardless of whether the study was powered to detect sex differences, disaggregate the data to see if there are differences that are hidden when data from males and females are pooled. Analyze key relationships for males and females separately.
Applicants should clearly state the method that was used to determine whether sex should be used as a biological variable in their study.

Am I allowed to add out of state expenditures to my budget? 

Prop 56 does not allow funding for out-of-state research, while Prop 99 does, if justified. However, Prop 99 funds are very limited. We therefore recommend against adding out-of-state research expenditures, such as sub-contracts with collaborators, to your budget.  If you include such an out-of-state expenditure that you feel is critical to your research, and your award is selected for funding, funding of your entire award depends on availability of very limited Prop 99 funds, and you may not be funded at all.

What resources are available to help me engage State policy makers?

If you are interested in engaging State Government, please consider partnering with the UC Center Sacramento (UCCS).  UCCS is a system-wide program of the University of California.  One of the Center's core missions is to share knowledge in the interest of better, more evidence-based public policy.  UCCS can help TRDRP investigators address the broader impacts and policy implications of their tobacco-related research.  Specific services available include evaluating dissemination strategies; helping to arrange meetings with policymakers within the Sacramento-based governmental apparatus; convening panels and conferences at the UCCS facility near the Capitol; preparing policy briefs; and assisting with op/eds for local, regional, and national news outlets.

These services are available to both UC- and non-UC-affiliated investigators.  TRDRP investigators interested in collaborating with UC Center Sacramento should contact UCCS Director Richard L. Kravitz as early in the proposal-writing process as possible.

How do I design a Community Engagement Plan for a biomedical research grant?

TRDRP believes that it is critical to engage the community in understanding research into tobacco disease prevention, tobacco use prevention, and cessation.  We require a community engagement plan to encourage investigators to think creatively how they could include community residents in their research process. Community members or community organizations could be involved at various stages of research (e.g., development, implementation, dissemination).

A few examples of how a biomedical scientist might consider including community members in their research include: community presentations of research findings in an accessible manner for a general audience; holding a community forum to better understand intended and unintended downstream effects from the community perspective; holding laboratory educational sessions to discuss the importance of bench-level science for scientific discovery that will eventually improve health at the community level. Click here for suggestions on designing your community engagement plan.

Scientists planning to engage community residents in their research should set aside funds in their budget to compensate residents for their time and involvement, as appropriate.

How is community defined?

Community is broadly defined as any group of individuals sharing a common characteristic, such as culture, language, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or other attribute that might impact the effectiveness of tobacco control programs.

What are Tobacco Priority Populations?

Priority populations in California are those that use tobacco at higher rates, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure, are disproportionately targeted by the industry, and/or have higher rates of tobacco-related disease. These include racial and ethnic minority groups, sexual and gender groups, people of low socioeconomic status, rural residents, military personnel and veterans, workers not covered by smoke-free workplace laws, people with behavioral health conditions, people with disabilities, and school-age youth. Applicants may identify additional priority populations by applying the criteria above or using other disparity indicators. (Source: Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee. Achieving Health Equity: Breaking the Commercial Tobacco Industry’s Cycle of Addiction, Death, and Environmental Degradation, 2023-2024. Sacramento, CA: Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee. 2023.) 


Can’t find the answer to your question? Feel free to contact TRDRP Program Officers, we are always ready to assist you with any questions you may have in mind.

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