New Policy Study Focuses on Tobacco Prevention and Reduction in Virginia Youth

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New three-year study seeks to understand the effects of policy tools and prevention strategies on youth tobacco use

Youth smoking remains a significant public health problem in the U.S. and in Virginia. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2019, 22.5 percent of Virginia high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.

Headshot of Hong Xue
Hong Xue, PhD

Hong Xue, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy, is conducting a novel simulation modeling study of youth smoking and prevention on the effects of policy and prevention strategies on the use of conventional and e-cigarettes in Virginia adolescents.

Xue and his interdisciplinary research team including Co-investigator Dr. Xiaoquan Zhao, professor in Mason’s Department of Communication, will address regulatory actions, marketing influences, and communications related to youth tobacco prevention and control. The team will examine the effects of tobacco retail regulations, estimate the effects of fiscal policy tools on conventional and e-cigarettes, and test social media-based tobacco prevention strategies and evaluate the impact on tobacco use, knowledge, beliefs, and behavior in Virginia youth.

“Our findings will support the efforts to advance legislative issues in Virginia and at the federal level for smoking prevention and control,” says Xue. Research results will also inform public health and social media strategies aimed at youth.

This research is funded by a $450,000 grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. The research team includes faculty and experts from George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William and Mary, Georgetown University, and Georgia State University.