Creating a world free from diseases caused by tobacco

The Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park studies the scientific evidence and provides technical support to reduce tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality.

Our faculty provide fundamental data for the evaluation of tobacco products and tobacco marketing. We’re often called on for leadership roles in national policy initiatives, and our research is an extensive resource for peer-reviewed data and education at every level.

We also investigate other health behaviors that have a significant impact on cancer, including alcohol use, physical activity, and energy imbalance.

Andrew Hyland, PhD

“Our goal is reducing the cancer burden as much possible and as quickly as possible. Tobacco use is responsible for about 30% of all cancer deaths – and it’s the primary focus of our department.”

Research focus

Research is the core component of the Health Behavior department. We study the components of tobacco products, how they are marketed, what consumers understand about them, and what the impact is of policies and industry actions designed to influence tobacco use.

We’re home to two large ‘team-science’ projects:

PATH Study

Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study

The largest longitudinal study of tobacco use ever conducted.

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CROFT Center

Studying all aspects of tobacco product flavors to support tobacco regulatory science efforts.

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On the service front:

Medical Cannabis

Spotlight: Center for Translational Research on Cannabis and Cancer (CTRCC)

The CTRCC launched in 2021 with the goal to understand if, to what extent, and how cannabis and cannabinoid use impacts the health and well-being of individuals and the communities they live in.

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Roswell Park holds several contracts for community and physician outreach and education throughout western New York. These groups are the ‘consumers’ of the research conducted at Roswell Park and elsewhere; they use it to update local stakeholders on best practices for our shared goal – reducing the cancer burden in our community.

In addition, Health Behavior faculty are often called upon to play a leadership role in national policy initiatives. Their research adds to the existing knowledge base and are reliable resources for smokers, businesses, teachers, administrators and national public policy experts regarding research, information and assistance with tobacco control issues.

Read our 2024 Menthol Report

Training the next generation of scientists

In addition to our research and community outreach, the Department of Health Behavior is actively involved in hands-on teaching with Master’s and PhD students in our highly competitive graduate studies program.

Our multidisciplinary education model allows students a unique immersive experience, preparing them for successful careers as independent investigators. 

Funded by a prestigious five-year, $19.05 million National Cancer Institute grant, the WNY Center for Research on Flavored Tobacco Products (CRoFT) examines both combustible and electronic tobacco products.

Health Behavior projects

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. The Department of Health Behavior offers a wide range of tobacco control programs to support individuals and communities to reduce the toll of tobacco use.

Comprehensive, evidence-based cessation interventions for Roswell Park patients, employees, state quitlines, health plans and employer-sponsored programs.

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Researching Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation interventions for smoking cessation, reducing alcohol consumption, and increasing physical activity as well as remotely administered interventions to reduce delay discounting and improve tobacco treatment outcomes.

Principal Investigator: Christine Sheffer, PhD

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Engaging community stakeholders and youth to change policies and norms about tobacco and tobacco use.

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Collaborating with targeted health care providers to provide assistance with the adoption of policies and programs to help smokers achieve cessation.

Director: Martin Mahoney, MD

Evaluating consumer response to product warnings, tobacco marketing, cessation information, point-of-sale displays, and other types of health behavior communications.

Director: Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, MS

Assessing design features of leading cigarette brands throughout the world, human smoking behavior, and perceptions of products.

Director: Richard O’Connor, PhD

Collecting and tracking tobacco products purchased in different countries to create cohort data on leading brands.

Director: Richard O’Connor, PhD

Comprehensive database developed to track changes in tobacco packaging.

Director: Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, MS

Current clinical trials

High-impact science

Contact us

Jessica Wagonblott
Scientific Department Administrator
Phone: 716-845-8170

Lori Jurkowski
Administrative Assistant to the Chair
Phone: 716-845-1705