Research aims to expand smoking cessation in underserved populations

University of Illinois Chicago researchers, led by University of Illinois Cancer Center members Phoenix Matthews and Karriem Watson, have received more than $3.3 million to study the burden of tobacco use and to improve smoking cessation interventions for populations with demonstrated high smoking rates.

The study aims to show the feasibility, success, and cost-effectiveness of electronically delivered smoking cessation interventions via patient portals in a network of federally qualified health centers, or FQHCs, called Mile Square Health Center. The project, Mi Quit CARE — for Mile Square Quit Community Access Referral Expansion — is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health.

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are poisonous. At least 70 are known to cause cancer in people or animals. People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from the disease than people who do not smoke.

Matthews, PhD, professor of population health nursing science and associate dean for equity and inclusion at the UIC College of Nursing, is a member of the UI Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control program. Watson, DHSc, MS, MPH, serves as associate director, Community Outreach and Engagement, UI Cancer Center, and associate executive director, Mile Square Health Center UI Health.


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