A Rutgers-led consortium has been awarded $18 million to help tobacco regulators by providing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with real-time data on tobacco and nicotine marketing, products and consumer behaviors. “Nothing like this has ever been attempted before now,” said Cristine Delnevo, director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and principal investigator of the rapid surveillance center. “No one has collected such comprehensive information, let alone organized and disseminated it rapidly. We think it will provide the FDA with meaningful and timely data to inform their congressionally authorized regulation of the tobacco market.”

The 5-year grant will enable researchers to rapidly identify and analyze critical information in real time and generate timely information for appropriate regulatory and enforcement action by the FDA. For example, when e-cigarette use among young people dramatically increased from 2017 to 2018, the CDC and FDA believed that it was driven by the popular brand JUUL, but because federal surveys did not ask specifically about the brand, they could only speculate. Once brand-specific information was collected in 2019, which clearly showed that JUUL was the most popular brand among young e-cigarette users, the FDA finalized an enforcement policy aimed at this problem. To read the full story.