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End the Lies: Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative
The AHA is committing up to $20 million to fund two or three (2-3) bold, ground-breaking research projects focused on the health impacts of nicotine and nicotine delivery products in children and youth. The AHA seeks to accelerate desperately needed answers about the health effects of e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery devices (ENNDs) and how to prevent and/or reverse the developing epidemic of nicotine addiction, among children and youth (defined as 15-24 years of age).
As rates of combustible cigarette use fell to historic lows, the tobacco industry devised a novel way to addict a new generation of customers to their nicotine products. E-cigarettes have been falsely marketed as safer for users, less intrusive to others, and an effective means for quitting combustible tobacco. The reality is the biological impacts of the myriad chemicals delivered via the various types of available e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery devices (ENNDs) on multiple organ systems (heart, brain, lungs, vasculature, etc.) are largely unknown, especially among vulnerable children and youth - who are still growing. The difficulty in defining the etiology of the recent outbreak of vaping-related lung disease and deaths is an additional tragic validation of this urgent gap in knowledge.
There is also insufficient data on behavioral factors, specific social influencers, and policies on initiation, dual-use, addiction, and/or cessation across or between diverse populations. Policymakers, regulators, medical professionals and parents are seeking strategies, policies,and solutions, but the scientific evidence to inform these efforts is in many cases inadequate as understanding of the long-term effects of nicotine addiction in children and youth have been inadequately researched.
Deadline: Jan. 7, 2020
Areas of Interest
The AHA is uniquely positioned to launch a bold research initiative addressing key gaps in basic, clinical, and behavioral science related to e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction in children and youth. Based on the latest available and emerging evidence, the AHA has identified a number of topics of priority interest; however, they should not be considered exclusive. Innovative, original research proposals leading to rapid discovery will be of the highest interest.
- Nicotine’s impact on adolescent brain development, intelligence and learning;
- The physiological impact of nicotine and other e-cigarette chemicals;
- The role and influence of device type, flavors and other e-cigarette chemicals and byproducts on addiction;
- How to reverse nicotine addiction in youth using behavioral, pharmacological and/or mobile health technology solutions;
- Natural history and progression of ENNDs use, including dual-use, transitions to/from combustible tobacco, and cessation effectiveness, with a focus on equity and variations among populations;
- The impact of policies eliminating flavors, imposing sales age restrictions and restricting marketing practices on youth e-cigarette use
It is recognized that the gap in research on children and youth is due to appropriately stringent legal and ethical standards that have made conducting these studies difficult. Nevertheless, major advances in understanding nicotine and e-cigarette use in children and youth are dependent on studies in these populations. Thus, studies must be in children and/or youth, or have direct applicability to addressing use in these populations. Proposals with animal studies will be considered if they demonstrate clear applicability to the problem in human populations.
Research Leaders are expected to demonstrate the following or equivalent attributes:
- Ph.D. and/or M.D. or strong research experience and success
- Ability to develop new tools and methods that support creative, experimental approaches, utilizing techniques from other disciplines, if needed/appropriate
- Creativity in scientific ideas and commitment to take risks on forward-looking concepts of major scientific impact
- U.S. government employees are not eligible
We seek and strongly encourage applications from women and members of racial and/or ethnic groups that are under-represented in biomedical sciences.
Awardees will be invited to and expected to attend symposia, conferences and other gatherings of American Heart Association researchers. These events offer time for cross-fertilization of leading-edge research ideas and new collaborative opportunities.