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 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 is the primary focus of the department.

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

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:

Services

On the service front:

Outreach

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.

Spotlight: Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment

Roswell Park’s Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment Resource (NicoTAR) specializes in testing nicotine-containing tobacco products collected during various research projects, including population studies and clinical trials.

NicoTAR provides resources for testing nicotine amounts in products, the yield of nicotine inhaled, and levels delivered to users of the devices.

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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. 

Unmatched expertise

Specializing in: Evaluation of tobacco policies; cancer and tobacco surveillance; biostatistical support

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

Recent publications

Contact us

Jessica Wagonblott
Scientific Department Administrator
Phone: 716-845-8170
Email: Jessica.Wagonblott@RoswellPark.org

Lori Jurkowski
Administrative Assistant to the Chair
Phone: 716-845-1705
Email: Lori.Jurkowski@RoswellPark.org