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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tobacco Products

FDA and NIH Study: Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health

 January 25, 2013

PATH - Population Assessment of Tobacco and HealthIn October 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new study called the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.  The study will look at tobacco use and how it affects the health of Americans.  About 59,000 people ages 12 years and older will be invited to participate in the PATH Study.  Some of them will use tobacco; others won’t. Interviewers will meet with each person once a year for at least three years.

  • The study will help scientists learn how and why people start using tobacco, quit using it, and start using it again after they’ve quit. They’ll learn about health and how it’s affected by tobacco use.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will use results from the study to inform decisions about tobacco products aimed at achieving the goals of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA).
  • Information from the PATH Study will help NIH and FDA to understand tobacco use behaviors and health. Findings from the study will provide a scientific framework for the FDA to inform decisions about future changes in tobacco products that will help achieve objectives of the 2009 FSPTCA.


Specific Research Goals for the PATH Study

By monitoring and assessing the behavioral, social, and health impact of tobacco-product use in the United States, the PATH Study will help provide an evidence-base to help inform decisions  about future changes in tobacco products.  Specifically, the study aims to

  • Examine what makes people susceptible to tobacco-product use;
  • Evaluate initiation and use patterns, including use of
    • new products
    • multiple products, and
    • switching of tobacco products;
  • Study patterns of tobacco-product use, cessation and relapse;
  • Track potential behavioral and health impacts;
  • Assess differences in tobacco-related attitudes, behaviors, and health outcomes among racial/ethnic, gender, and age subgroups.


PATH Study Participants
  • Number of Participants: about 59,000
  • Representative sample from across the United States
  • Age: 12 years and older who may or may not use tobacco products.
  • Participants will be interviewed once a year for at least three years.


Learn more about this important research study. disclaimer icon


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