Although the U.S. smoking rate is half what it was when the first Surgeon General’s report was released in 1964, smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of mortality, causing about one of every five deaths in the United States. PIRE researchers have been at the forefront of tobacco-related research, focusing both on the physical—health effects, addiction, prevention, and cessation—and the behavioral—advertising and marketing, tobacco control policy—aspects of the issue.

Not only does PIRE conduct primary tobacco research, it has also launched valuable tools to help scientists, policymakers, and others in their research and decision-making. Developed at PIRE, the simulation model SimSmoke shows how policies such as tax changes, clean air legislation, and media campaigns affect smoking rates and smoking-attributable deaths.

PIRE continues to study tobacco issues, including grants to examine young African Americans’ perceptions of efforts to make smoking socially unacceptable and to evaluate a citywide ordinance banning smoking in multiunit housing.