Through its theme—the Intersections of Products with Populations—the USC-TCORS conducts research on the use and health effects of specific e-cigarette products across populations. Our team:

  •  Studies e-cigarette product characteristics and marketing approaches hypothesized to increase tobacco product attraction, use, and addiction in youth and young adults

Research Programs

Effects of Social Media Messages and Marketing on Tobacco Transitions Effects of Social Media Messages and Marketing on Tobacco Transitions

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Influence of Tobacco Product Characteristics and Marketing on Diverse Populations of Vape Shop Customers Influence of Tobacco Product Characteristics and Marketing on Diverse Populations of Vape Shop Customers

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Product Characteristics, Marketing, and E-cigarette and Cigarette Use Across Adolescence and Young Adulthood Product Characteristics, Marketing, and E-cigarette and Cigarette Use Across Adolescence and Young Adulthood

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Human Laboratory Research to Inform Precision Regulation of E-cigarettes Across Populations Human Laboratory Research to Inform Precision Regulation of E-cigarettes Across Populations

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Career Enhancement Program

The USC TCORS Career Enhancement Core will provide career building experiences structured to increase the combination of knowledge of regulatory issues and skills in the field of tobacco regulatory science.

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In the news

‘Secondhand Vaping’ May Be Unhealthy — Could Public Bans Be Coming?

Secondhand vapor from electronic cigarettes is harmful to others, causing bronchitis symptoms and shortness of breath in young bystanders, a new study reports.

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Goleta to Ban Flavored Tobacco Products

USC TCORS Jessica Barrington-Trimis, engages in a lengthy discussion that ends in decision to protect youth.

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A new documentary by The New York Times, featuring the USC TCORS’s Dr. Jon-Patrick Allem, traces the e-cigarette maker on its path from fledgling start-up to Silicon Valley juggernaut and, eventually, public health villain.

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Using certain e-cigarette devices can lead to smoking more cigarettes

A USC study finds that teens who vape — especially those who use modifiable e-cigarette devices — end up smoking far more cigarettes than those who don’t.

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Teen vapers choose mint as their favorite e-cigarette flavor A new USC study shows that mint was the most popular flavor of e-cigarettes used by U.S. teens in 2019, a finding that could impact proposed federal regulations intended to rein in soaring e-cig use among youth. Learn More US teen vaping numbers climb, fueled by Juul & mint flavor New research shows U.S. teens who use electronic cigarettes prefer those made by Juul Labs, and mint is the favorite flavor for many of them, suggesting a shift after the company stopped selling fruit and dessert flavors in stores. Learn More Study: One-quarter of high school students use e-cigarettes Separate research projects led by the FDA and addiction-medicine specialists at USC report that one in four high school students and one in 10 middle school students vape — and they prefer mango and mint flavors. Learn More Trump administration’s proposed ban on flavored e-cigs may FAIL to stop one in four US high school students from vaping – unless it includes mint and menthol flavors used by 60% of US teens, experts warn More than one in four high school students in the US now vape, as do more than 10 percent of middle schoolers, new research reveals. Learn More E-cigarettes aren’t a ‘gateway’ to teen smoking, study says Vaping makes teens more likely to try cigarettes, but doesn’t increase the odds that they’ll become smokers, according to a new study that looked at more than 12,000 middle school and high school students in the United States. Learn More USC study implicates flavored e-cigs in teen vaping epidemic A new study has found that teens who vape candy- or fruit-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to stick with the habit and vape more heavily, implicating flavors in the teen vaping epidemic. Learn More “What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes?” Link to Abstract UPCOMING EVENT: LA E-Cigarette Consortium: Symposium on E-cigarettes and Health More Info “Prevalence of e-Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States, 2014-2018” Link to Full Text How recent vaping coverage has influenced the USC community The recent intensive media coverage of vaping and its hazards has caught the attention of USC students, but it’s still too early to tell how much increased awareness will ultimately influence student usage of vaping devices. Learn More E-cig use jumps 46% among young adults in one year New research co-led by USC scientists suggests hundreds of thousands of young adults took up vaping between 2017 and 2018. Learn More UPCOMING DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER EVENT: Dr. Cristine Delnevo – September 20th 1:00-2:00 pm More Info NEW OPENING: Faculty Position Opening in Tobacco Regulatory Science at the University of Southern California More Info “Where Do People Vape? Insights from Twitter Data” Link to Full Text The unanticipated consequences of vaping: Implications for policy Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are a tobacco product originally designed to offer an alternative to combustible cigarettes by delivering nicotine at lower heat by a battery-powered device. Learn More “Subjective effects from the first cigarette of the day vary with precigarette affect in premenopausal female daily smokers.” Link to Abstract “Effects of non-tobacco flavors and nicotine on e-cigarette product appeal among young adult never, former, and current smokers” Link to Full Text “Characterizing Swisher Little Cigar–Related Posts on Twitter in 2018: Text Analysis” Link to Full Text “Comparison of e-cigarette marketing and availability in tobacco retail outlets among diverse low-income communities in California” Link to Full Text “Past 30-day co-use of tobacco and marijuana products among adolescents and young adults in California” Link to Full Text E-Cigarette Makers Use Cartoon Characters To Attract Users, And It Works Electronic cigarette use, or vaping, is unsafe for children, adolescents and young adults. Electronic cigarettes often contain nicotine and other harmful substances. Nicotine is addictive and can curb adolescent brain development, which continues into young adulthood. The leading electronic cigarette company insists it is not targeting youth as customers. Learn More Study finds e-cigarette cartoon ads may increase young adults’ likelihood of vaping Like the infamous “Joe Camel” advertisements for cigarettes in the 1980s and 90s, the use of cartoon characters in ads for e-cigarettes and e-liquids may be attracting young people to the nicotine-delivery products, according to a new USC study. Learn More “Ethnic Differences in Patterns of Cigarette and E-Cigarette Use Over Time Among Adolescents” Link to Full Text Tobacco, vape shops sell more to minors than other retailers U.S. regulations require retailers to check ID for everyone under age 27 who tries to buy tobacco products, but half of tobacco and vape shops don’t do this, a 2018 study of California retailers suggests. Learn More E-cig companies use cartoon characters as logos, and new study shows it works Electronic cigarette use, or vaping, is unsafe for children, adolescents and young adults. Electronic cigarettes often contain nicotine and other harmful substances. Nicotine is addictive and can curb adolescent brain development, which continues into young adulthood. Learn More JUUL’s social media campaign resonates alarmingly with teens The popular e-cigarette brand JUUL is attracting an alarming number of teens online, researchers say. At least a quarter of JUUL’s twitter followers may be under 18, they write in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Learn More 1 in 4 @JUULvapor tweeps is underage, a #PublicHealth concern E-cigarette brand JUUL’s Twitter handle is attracting adolescents to the point that at least a quarter of its followers appear to be under age 18, according to a new analysis by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Learn More Juul to eliminate social media accounts, stop retail sales of flavors The CEO of e-cigarette maker Juul announced plans Tuesday to eliminate some of its social media accounts and halt most retail sales of flavor products as part of a plan to restrict access to minors. Learn More Study finds social media accounts worsen health A USC-led study found that automated social media accounts have been found to promote falsehoods that may be detrimental to public health, according to USC News. Learn More Kids sneak smoking substitute into school, USC researchers find A tobacco replacement designed to help grown-ups quit smoking has landed in the hands of children with potentially harmful consequences, new USC research shows. Learn More ‘Peanut Butter Cup’: A dessert or e-cigarette flavor? Advertising for traditional cigarettes is strictly regulated: No cowboys looking cool, no cartoons and no bright colors that play up candy- flavored cigarettes that might appeal to kids. Learn More E-cigarettes: A shiny Alternative to Smoking? Smoking is cool again. Who would have thought? Learn More Vaping on the rise: Colorado youth use e-cigarettes at twice the national average Colorado’s high school and middle school students are using e-cigarettes, or vaping nicotine products, at twice the national average, according to a recent study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Colorado youth reported the highest e-cigarette usage rate of any of the 37 states surveyed. Learn More E-cigarettes: A win of loss for public health In 2003, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik created the first commercially successful electronic cigarette. Motivated by the death of his father, who was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer, Lik had a simple concept: to separate nicotine delivery from the carcinogens in cigarettes. Instead of burning tobacco, his device vaporized a nicotine-containing liquid, thus creating smoke-like vapor that could be inhaled. Learn More Concerns over health effects of vaping- and rising use among teens E-cigarette use and vaping have been described as safer alternatives to smoking cigarettes, but advocacy groups and some scientists studying the growing trend say those nicotine-containing devices carry known health risks to developing teenage brains — and some kids are already using them. Learn More Your teen is underestimating the health risks of vaping Teen today are more reluctant to smoke cigarettes than their counterparts nearly three decades ago, according to a study released this summer. But parents should hold their collective sign of relief. The study, carried out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), uncovered a new troublesome trend: vaping. Learn More E-Cigarettes Encourage Adolescent Progression to Tobacco Adding to a growing body of research on the effects of e-cigarette use, a new study suggests that adolescents who use electronic nicotine delivery systems increase their odds of subsequent use of combustible cigarettes in some capacity. Learn More Teens Who Vape May Be More Likely to Smoke Cigarettes Later, Study Finds Even though rates of teen smoking are on the decline, a new study finds that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to light up their first traditional cigarette. Learn More New study is a smoking gun, shows vaping is no deterrent to teen tobacco use Kids who experiment with e-cigarettes end up smoking tobacco about as much as teen smokers who never used the devices, according to a USC study in the Nov. 5 journal Pediatrics Learn More USC receives $17.8 million grant to research tobacco-related health risks A new, $17.8 million grant will ensure USC remains at the forefront of research to protect people from tobacco-related health risks. Learn More Behind E-cigarette Safety Risks And Popularity Among Teens E-CIGARETTE E-cigarettes or e-cigs have quickly become a status symbol among teens — and are alarming parents and lawmakers including the FDA. So are these new phenomenons safe? Learn More High Nicotine Concentrations Delivered by ‘Pod Mods’ Pod mods,” which are small, rechargeable devices that aerosolize liquid solutions containing nicotine encapsulated in cartridges, pose a danger to adolescent users, according to a perspective article published in the September 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Learn More Vaping may be more dangerous than we realized When e-cigarettes first appeared on store shelves a few years back, they were marketed as a sleek, discreet technology that could help adult smokers kick a potentially deadly habit. Learn More Why vaping is so dangerous for teens Most of what we know about nicotine addiction in teens, we know from cigarettes. But experts say the technology and chemistry of vaping might pose an entirely different threat. Learn More Eat, toke or vape: Teens not too picky when it comes to pot’s potpourri There is no doubt that some high school students will try to get high. However, the ways they’re doing it might be changing. Learn More UK study shows e-cigarettes help adult smokers quit, but US experts urge caution When combined with one-on-one behavior therapy, e-cigarettes are more effective in helping people quit smoking than traditional nicotine-replacement products such as patches and gum, according to a new randomized study of British adults published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Learn More The sweetness of e-cigarette flavors is more likely to get teens hooked than the nicotine As of today (Sept. 28), Juul Labs and four other e-cigarette companies have 44 days left to prove to the US Food and Drug Administration that they can keep their products away from minors; otherwise, they risk them being pulled from the market. Learn More Teens are smoking, vaping and eating cannabis Adolescents who try marijuana are not just smoking it. Many are also vaping or eating cannabis, a U.S. study suggests. Learn More

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Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D. Professor, Preventive Medicine
Sidney R. Garfield Chair in Health Sciences
Director, Institute for Prevention Research

Adam Leventhal, Ph.D. Professor of Preventive Medicine
Director of Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory


University of Southern California,
Los Angeles.

The University of Southern California's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (USC TCORS) for Vulnerable Populations is one of 9 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science in the U.S. We were created to serve in the production of relevant scientific data to inform the regulatory decision making at the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products. Additionally, we are here to educate and train the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists.

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