Taxpayers Spend $536,526 to Study Smoking Cessation for LGBT Community

May 23, 2013 - 5:04 PM
Women Smoking

In this July 20, 2006 file photo, a woman smokes a cigarette during a break from work in downtown Chicago. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health issued a $536,526 grant to the University of Illinois, Chicago, for a two-year program ending in July to study the smoking cessation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.

“The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate the benefits of culturally targeted smoking cessation intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender smokers,” the NIH grant description said. “Findings will contribute to the scientific literature on reducing smoking-related health disparities among underserved populations.”

The funding began on Sept. 30, 2010 and will conclude on July 31, 2013.

“NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans. Research into unhealthy human behaviors that are estimated to be the proximal cause of more than half of the disease burden in the U.S. will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH,” the NIH press office said in a statement to CNSNews.com.

“Only by developing effective prevention and treatment strategies for health-injuring behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, inactivity and poor diet, can we reduce the disease burden in the U.S. and thus, enhance health and lengthen life, which is the mission of the NIH,” it added.

The grant description on the NIH website stated, “Our long-term goals are to increase smoking cessation in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) smokers and to understand the processes related to cessation and relapse in this underserved population.”

The study has been conducted in two separate phases, with a primary aim of this study “to compare the efficacy of a culturally targeted intervention versus a non-targeted intervention on smoking cessation outcomes in LGBT smokers.”

In the first phase of the study, the university used focus groups for a pilot trial program. Phase two was a random smoking cessation trial to compare the effectiveness on this population with the overall results of the American Lung Associations “Freedom from Smoking” program (ALAFFS).

“The ALA-CT will consist of 7 culturally targeted (psychosocial and cultural) group counseling sessions combined with nicotine replacement and peer support,” the NIH project description said.

“The contrast condition will be smokers who receive the non-targeted ALA-FFS program, nicotine replacement and peer support. The primary smoking cessation outcome will be point prevalence abstinence, i.e., no smoking, not even a puff, for previous 7 days, and will be assessed by Timeline Follow-Back derived measures for prolonged abstinence and point prevalence quit rates,” it added.

The project description continued, “Reported outcomes will be objectively verified [Carbon monoxide (CO) testing] at 1 month, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months follow-up to determine short and longer- term cessation outcomes.”

It further said, “Findings will contribute to the scientific literature on reducing smoking-related health disparities among underserved populations.”

The NIH website said that the direct costs would be $471,526 and indirect costs would be $65,485.

Leading the study is Alicia K. Matthews, PhD, associate professor of nursing at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Matthews is the faculty advisor to UIC’s National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

CNSNews.com sent her questions via e-mail about the project and later followed with a phone call for comment about the project.

“No, thank you,” she responded when contacted by phone, but she said she would look at the emailed questions. She has not responded to the e-mail inquiry at press time.

The UIC website said, “Her research focuses on examining the factors associated with physical and mental health disparities among members of marginalized social groups, including racial and ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations, and developing tailored smoking cessation interventions for these groups.”

Her past publications included a 2009 paper on “Development of a culturally targeted smoking cessation intervention for African American smokers.”