Tobacco, Disease and the Industry: cigs, e-cigs and more

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

This dynamic interactive course is taught by a professor who is internationally renowned for his work in this field for > 25 years. Approximately 40 million Americans smoke or use tobacco daily, leading to more than 480,000 attributable deaths a year. Tobacco-related illness in the U.S. costs more than $300 billion a year. Since tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S., and will soon be in the developing world, tobacco control is imperative. This class is intended to help students gain in-depth knowledge about the public health problem of tobacco use and cigarette smoking, nicotine addiction, novel new products, and the tobacco industry. We will cover the nature of tobacco, nicotine, and cigarettes; the link between smoking, disease, and death; smoking prevalence and nicotine dependence; novel products such as e-cigarettes and Modified Risk Tobacco Products; the role of the tobacco industry; and, global tobacco control and policy. We will also cover, behavioral and pharmacological smoking cessation treatments; community, organizational, and media campaigns; tobacco policy; and, global tobacco control. The course is designed as a seminar course emphasizing class discussion and debate, as well as in-depth discussion of the assigned readings. Because of the interactive nature of the course, it is critical that students do the readings each day and come to class prepared to discuss them.

The class will focus on integrating knowledge, oratory skills, writing, and team work with sensitivity to diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and demographic subgroups. Students will also learn about ethical issues in public health and identify data sources relevant to the investigation of a public health problem. There will be limited didactic presentations each day. Instead, there will be class discussions and debate, with small group breakouts. This course will provide an excellent foundation for further work in this area, and will provide practical skills critical for the first year of college.

Class Sessions will include:
– How to do literature searches and use citation software
– Tobacco History and Taxation
- Tobacco Products: Combustible and Smokeless; Prevalence of Tobacco Use; The Changing Cigarette
- Health Consequences of Smoking
- What is Harm Minimization/Reduction
- Ecigs and Modified Risk Tobacco Products
- Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation; Reduced Nicotine Products
- Global Tobacco Control
- Biomarkers and Carcinogens
- A Case Study in Health Disparities: African American Smokers
- Behavioral and Pharmacological Approaches to Smoking Cessation

Evaluation will be based on:
1. Class Preparation and Participation – attendance, demonstration of reading completion, and active participation
2. Short In-Class Presentation – Students will present for up to 5 minutes, followed by 5 minutes Q & A, on one lay press article. They will summarize the article, reflect on its content, use science to back or refute the article, and offer a personal opinion. Students will use PowerPoint slides.
3. Team Presentation – Teams of students will be chosen randomly to research and present on a tobacco topic confirmed by the end of the third class session. They will present for no more than 10 minutes leaving 10 minutes for Q and A.
4. Individual Written Project – Complete a 3 single-spaced page paper. Topic selection will be finalized by the end of the first week. Papers can be a proposed research project, policy to reduce tobacco use, a literature review on a specific topic, or other possibilities.

Course Instructor: Dr. Ahluwalia is an internationally renowned physician and public health scientist who has been in academic medicine since 1992. He has been doing tobacco research for 27 years having received more than $100 million in research funding with his colleagues, and has published more than 300 scientific papers. He serves on the US Government’s Interagency Committee on Tobacco and Health with the U.S. Surgeon General.

1. Learn practical skills for college: public speaking, scientific writing, team work, searching the literature, and using citation software
2. To provide an overview of tobacco public health issues
3. To provide an understanding of tobacco-attributable diseases and associated morbidity and mortality
4. To discuss the role of the tobacco industry and their move to novel new nicotine and tobacco products.
5. To provide an understanding of pharmacological, behavioral, community/organizational, regulatory and policy approaches to tobacco use.
6. To be familiar with the novel new products coming to the market and the role of Food and Drug Administration regarding regulation

Prerequisites: High school biology
High school chemistry
Good writing skills
Rising 11th and 12th-grade students

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPC0907
  • Length: 3 weeks

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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