AHA Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (ATRAC)

Published: July 17, 2023

Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS 2.0)

In September of 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of an on-going interagency partnership, funded 14 Tobacco Regulatory Science Centers to conduct research that would inform regulation of tobacco products. After a successful five-year program, they funded nine new Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS 2.0) in September of 2018. In this second round of funding, they have committed more than $151 million in grants across the TCORS 2.0 research centers, some of which were also part of the previous network of Tobacco Regulatory Science Centers.

The American Heart Association (AHA) Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center received new funding as part of this initiative and partnered with eight institutions to form the AHA Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science.

The TCORS program continues to bring together investigators from across the country to aid in the development and evaluation of tobacco product regulations. Each TCORS identified some targeted research goals and themes. Overall, the TCORS sites are expected use the full spectrum of basic and applied sciences on tobacco and addiction to generate research from that will help inform and assess FDA’s existing, upcoming and future regulatory initiatives. The program will also provide - young investigators with training and seed funding opportunities to ensure the development of the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists. The program has been designed to have the flexibility to provide answers to emerging research questions in a continually shifting tobacco marketplace.

The overall goal of the American Heart Association Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (A-TRAC 2.0) is to provide FDA with scientific evidence regarding the cardiovascular toxicity and health effects of tobacco products and their constituents, with a larger focus on new and emerging tobacco products. The Center will support a multi-disciplinary research program to assess the toxicity of tobacco products and their constituents in human tissue and animal models; evaluate short- and long-term cardiovascular health effects of tobacco products; and assess the cardiovascular disease risk associated with the use of non-cigarette tobacco products in multiple large NIH-supported cardiovascular cohorts.

The TCORS 2.0 program is designed to generate scientific evidence in seven scientific domains:

  • Approaches that test the toxicity of tobacco smoke, aerosol, or specific constituents
  • Effects of tobacco product characteristics on addiction and abuse liability
  • Short and long-term health effects of tobacco products
  • Understanding of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to tobacco product use
  • Understanding of how to effectively communicate the health effects of tobacco products
  • Influences of tobacco marketing
  • Understanding of the impact of potential FDA regulatory actions

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