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March 2016

New Grant Funds URMC Research on Effects of Smoking


A University of Rochester researcher will be leading a new study on the effects of smoking tobacco and electronic (e)-cigarettes.

altDr. Sherry L. Spinelli, Ph.D. is a research associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center. She is principal investigator in a study funded by the world's leading tobacco company, Phillip Morris International. 

The study will analyze health data from current and former smokers, as well as people who use e-cigarettes and those have never smoked. Philip Morris will use the information to develop reduced-risk products (RRPs), or products that are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.  

While that may seem counterproductive to promoting good health, Spinelli says it's crucial to collect a broad sample of information on the biological effects of smoke on blood platelets and the entire vascular cell population to understand how smoking promotes cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This means comparing the health of smokers and nonsmokers alike.  

"Everybody  knows smoking is a major health risk and the best thing to do is not start or to quit if you are a smoker," she said. "That's not always realistic because smoking cessation is very difficult for a high percentage of individuals and despite prevention programs and health warnings, young people are still developing bad habits when it comes to smoking and the increasing use of new tobacco products. In addition to prevention programs, we are very interested in minimizing harm, which is a major objective of the FDA and other world health organizations."   

The study is now underway and is scheduled to continue through fall of 2017.  



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