Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01TW005962-05 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Ward, Kenneth
Organization: University Of Memphis
Project Title: Establishment of the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies
Fiscal Year: 2006


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Tobacco use is becoming epidemic in developing countries. Unless current trends are reversed, tobacco will kill 10 million people annually by the decade of 2020-2030, with a staggering 70% of these deaths in developing countries. This epidemic has been curbed in the US and other developed countries with intensive scientific study of tobacco use, but developing nations often lack the capacity and infrastructure for such scientific efforts. This is especially true in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) region, where the tobacco epidemic is largely unchecked in countries such as Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. This application's overarching goal is to establish a center for the study, treatment, and prevention of tobacco dependence in the EM. The Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies will serve as a national and regional resource for tobacco control efforts, including epidemiological study, clinical research, and prevention and cessation intervention development. The Center also will serve as a focal point for dissemination of information relevant to tobacco control efforts in the EM region. In its first five years, the specific aims of the Center are to: 1. Learn methods for studying tobacco use and local smoking practices using key informant interviews and focus groups to guide the development of epidemiological, clinical laboratory, and treatment strategies. This Year 1 effort will provide the SCTS's foundation. Second, an epidemiological study during Years 1 and 2 will detail the patterns and determinants of tobacco use and cessation in Aleppo (Syria's second-largest city), focusing on cigarette and narghile (water pipe) use. 2. Describe, in a clinical laboratory established in Aleppo, the subjective, physiological, and behavioral effects of smoking systems that are popular in, and in some cases unique to, the EM. This laboratory will be established in the first 12 months of the project and two detailed studies of tobacco use will occupy the laboratory during Years 2-5 of the funding period. 3. Test a primary-care based smoking cessation intervention tailored to the Syrian setting based on data from epidemiological and clinical laboratory results. This intervention will be developed during Year 2 and implemented and tested in Years 3-5. 4. Train Syrian tobacco researchers so that the expertise and resources necessary for sustaining and expanding the SCTS will be in place locally at project's end. Training components will include a fellowship program for study in the United States, sponsorship of an annual regional tobacco control conference, and expert consultation and resource-sharing via Internet for other researchers and institutions in the EM.