Changing human behavior is a difficult thing — even when a person wants to change. Using the tools of neuroscience, Emily Falk, Ph.D., studies how the brain reacts to messages and moments in our day-to-day lives, and what can be done to make behavior change stick. Falk is a Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and director of its Communication Neuroscience Lab.
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New Annenberg assistant professor David Lydon-Staley, Ph.D., studies substance use and abuse over the lifespan, with an emphasis on how the small moments of our lives compound to influence our overall behavior. Much of his research focuses on adolescents ages 14-16, and often uses mobile phones as a tool to understand behavior.
This presentation describes emerging research on tobacco product marketing, regulation, and communication, including consideration of the research opportunities and challenges that are presented by the proliferation and uptake of diverse nicotine products around the world. Studies to monitor and assess the effects of both direct marketing (e.g., point of sale, product packaging, Internet) and indirect marketing (e.g., entertainment media) are described. Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of policy innovations highlight opportunities for effective counter-marketing via product packaging and labeling regulations, as well as for communications to support smoking cessation. Insights and implications of these studies for the US, as well as for global tobacco control efforts, are highlighted throughout the presentation.
Dr. Thrasher received his PhD in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education & Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. For over a decade, he has been a Researcher and Visiting Professor at the Mexican National Institute of Public Health, where much of his research is based. His research generally focuses on assessing the effects of media and policy interventions on nutrition- and smoking-related perceptions and behavior. A particular emphasis of this work involves assessing the consistency of media and policy effects across populations that differ in terms of sociocultural background and risk. NIH-funded research he currently leads examines the psychosocial and behavioral effects of product warning labels, tobacco marketing, and entertainment media across countries. He has authored over 160 peer-reviewed articles; serves on numerous scientific, regulatory, editorial, and advocacy workgroups and committees; and often provides consultation to governments on tobacco policy and communications, including in his current role a voting member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee.
In 2009, passage of the Tobacco Control Act granted the FDA the authority to set product standards for nicotine content in cigarettes if such action is likely to benefit public health. Such action could reduce the prevalence of smoking by decreasing the likelihood that new users will become dependent and increasing the likelihood that current users will stop smoking. The regulatory science pertaining to the risks and benefits of reducing nicotine in cigarettes will be a critical determinant of FDA action.