I joined Altria just two years ago to work in Regulatory Sciences. I came from The National Cancer Institute – not because I wanted to work in tobacco, but because I wanted a really good research opportunity. This one caught my attention because it was focused on studying the underage tobacco use landscape to provide insights for underage tobacco prevention. Since coming here, I've been really impressed with the level of rigor that's involved in the research and the commitment to making sure that youth are protected from harmful products that adults have the right to use.
We analyze national data sets, like the National Institutes of Health and FDA's PATH study and the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey, and also conduct our own research to help us better understand issues related to underage tobacco use. When Altria announced the additional $100 million to address the youth vaping epidemic, we wanted to make sure we had a solid foundation of knowledge that would help to guide Altria's activities. We wanted to enhance the work Altria had been doing in underage tobacco prevention, but we needed to have data to help support key decisions. For example, if we can improve our understanding of what types of resources parents and caring adults need to help kids not use e-vapor, we can be more effective in supporting our Success 360° partners.
While some of the research we've done has been in response to the rise in youth e-vapor use, it also helped us think ahead – to what we might need to understand early on, to prevent youth use of newer tobacco products that become available for adult tobacco consumers. I’m excited by the opportunities to approach our field of research in innovative ways that will deliver even more useful insights in the future.