June 2001

Grant Results

SUMMARY

From 1998 to 1999, investigators at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, developed a smoking-cessation program for ethnically diverse, low-income women who are pregnant.

Key Findings
During focus groups and interviews, the researchers found that:

  • Women were interested in blood tests that could show the damage cigarette smoking causes to their DNA and its effect on their risk of cancer.
  • The women were able to grasp the concepts inherent in the results of the blood/urine test and said they would be motivated to quit smoking when presented with evidence from the test that their exposure to cancer-causing substances had been reduced.
  • Women are motivated to stop smoking to protect the health of their children.

Key Results

  • The researchers created a manual for physicians and a series of handouts for patients and physicians describing the blood tests to be performed, the dangers of smoking to health, tips for quitting smoking, and a stepwise process for helping patients quit.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a grant of $47,913 between November 1998 and September 1999.

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THE PROJECT

In 1998 and 1999, investigators at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, developed a smoking-cessation program for ethnically diverse, low-income women who are pregnant.

The program was to include culturally sensitive materials and through blood tests offer women who smoke an objective biological indication about the increased cancer risk they face.

Pregnant women may be particularly receptive to smoking-cessation interventions and previous studies have suggested that providing biological feedback about their increased cancer risk may be particularly effective in encouraging pregnant women and new mothers to quit smoking.

The researchers adapted a National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health smoking-cessation program. They added culturally sensitive information about smoking-related cancer risk as well as tests to reveal the levels in the women's blood of certain cancer-causing substances related to cigarette smoking.

The results offered women an objective indication of their exposure to tobacco smoke and its cancer-causing potential.

In developing the intervention, the researchers conducted 3 focus groups with 28 Black and Hispanic women who had children or were of childbearing age. Individual interviews also were conducted with 10 women; some had participated in the focus groups while others were recruited separately.

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FINDINGS

During the focus groups and interviews, the researchers found that:

  • Women were interested in blood tests that could show the damage cigarette smoking causes to their DNA and its effect on their risk of cancer.
  • The women were able to grasp the concepts inherent in the results of the blood/urine test and said they would be motivated to quit smoking when presented with evidence from the test that their exposure to cancer-causing substances had been reduced.
  • Women are motivated to stop smoking to protect the health of their children. It is important that any smoking-cessation intervention not only include information about the harmful effects of smoking on women's health, but also include information on smoking's effects on the health of other family members.
  • The recommended package of materials should deliver a clear and simple message of the harmful effects of smoking and should be easy for physicians and patients to use and understand.

Results

  • The researchers created a manual for physicians and a series of handouts for patients and physicians describing the blood tests to be performed, the dangers of smoking to health, tips for quitting smoking, and a stepwise process for helping patients quit.

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AFTER THE GRANT

The researchers plan to seek support for a pilot study to test the effectiveness of their intervention.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Developing Biomarker Feedback for Smoking-Cessation Programs

Grantee

Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University (New York,  NY)

  • Amount: $ 47,913
    Dates: November 1998 to September 1999
    ID#:  031347

Contact

Frederica P. Perera, Dr.Ph.
(212) 304-7280
fpp1@columbia.edu

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Publications

"A Cigarette Does Not Belong in This Picture." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Chart Your Progress." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Every Cigarette You Smoke Hurts Your Baby." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Helping Your Patient Stop Smoking: A Manual for Physicians." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Helping Your Patient Stop Smoking: Smoking Cessation Packet 2." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Smoking Cessation Contract." Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"What Can Your Blood Tell You about Smoking?" Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

"Why Should I Stop Smoking?" Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. 1999.

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Report prepared by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: David Kales
Reviewed by: Richard Camer
Program Officer: C. Tracy Orleans

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