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MD Anderson Tobacco Milestones

11/07/2013

Addressing the burden of tobacco use has remained a vital focus in 
MD Anderson’s mission to Make Cancer History. Below are highlights of the institution’s contributions to reduce tobacco’s health impact in the past 50 years.

smoking tobacco2013: Scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson develop and release an educational app called Tobacco-Free Teens. The app is designed to help prevent tobacco use and help teens stop smoking. 

2013: Scientists in the Department of Health Disparities Research at 
MD Anderson develop an innovative “systems change” model for primary care practices that uses the Electronic Health Record to automatically link smokers to evidence-based treatment, with the potential to increase the number of treated smokers between 13 and 30-fold.

2012: Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., MD Anderson president, launches Moon Shots program, an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths. Under this effort, MD Anderson experts develop a comprehensive End Tobacco plan to address the burden of tobacco use in institutions, communities, states and nations.

2012: Scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson develop effective, culturally sensitive intervention program to eliminate secondhand smoke within Mexican-American households. The program increased the awareness of Mexican-Americans of the harmful impacts of secondhand smoke and showed a significant, instrumentally validated reduction of exposure to secondhand smoke.

2011: Scientists in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson publish the first study demonstrating that characteristics of the built environment, such as the proximity of tobacco retail outlets to consumers can detrimentally impact smoking cessation.

2010: Scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson publish results from large-scale NCI-funded group-randomized trial aimed at training healthcare providers in 16 urban and rural Texas communities. The program resulted in significantly increased and sustained smoking cessation counseling and treatment of patients by Texas physicians.

2010: Scientists in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson publish the first comprehensive model delineating the pathways linking socioeconomic status to poor smoking cessation outcomes.

2008: John Mendelsohn, M.D., MD Anderson president 1996-2011, forms the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk to study how to predict and reduce cancer risk, to explore health disparities, and improve health care delivery. Tobacco research identified as a targeted area for investment.

2007: Scientists in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson publish the first study demonstrating that telephone-based counseling is effective for Spanish-speaking smokers.

2007: MD Anderson participates on the Smoke-free Houston Coalition, which results in the passing of an ordinance to make all Houston workplaces and public spaces smoke-free.

2006: MD Anderson launches the Tobacco Treatment Program, a free tobacco cessation program for patients and their family members, with funding from the Texas Settlement Lawsuit.

2006: Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., chair of behavioral science at MD Anderson, serves as president of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (2006-2007).

2005-2013: Scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson publish several significant studies demonstrating the efficacy of cessation techniques in smokers, including among cancer patients and individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

2005: Scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson publish study that demonstrates the efficacy of combining antidepressant drugs with counseling and nicotine replacement to improve tobacco cessation rates.

2004: MD Anderson initiates Too Cool to Smoke educational program for youth in grades K-4. The program, which uses puppets to educate about the dangers of tobacco, has reached about 124,000 children.

2002-2008: Gritz serves on the board of the American Legacy Foundation and serves as vice chair of the board from 2006 to 2008. This not-for-profit organization is responsible for the truth anti-smoking youth campaign.

2000-2004: Funds from the National Cancer Institute and the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research are used by scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science to develop, test, and place on the internet ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience), an evidence-based, multimedia tobacco prevention and cessation program for middle and high school kids.

1998: MD Anderson leaders testify in Austin on behalf of the Texas Settlement Lawsuit. MD Anderson receives 100 million in endowments to support tobacco cessation and prevention initiatives.

1996: MD Anderson tobacco experts provide assistance to the Texas Attorney General on the Texas Tobacco Lawsuit.

1994: MD Anderson becomes one of the few U.S. academic medical centers to adopt a policy prohibiting the receipt of tobacco money for research funding.

1989: MD Anderson becomes a smoke-free campus.

1986: Charles LeMaistre, M.D., MD Anderson president 1978-1996, serves as national president of the American Cancer Society.  Tobacco policy and education were key issues of his leadership term.

1985: LeMaistre chairs the International Summit of Smoking Control Leaders meeting where smoking control experts from 39 countries gathered. A number of critical conclusions and proposals resulted from this landmark meeting.

1981: LeMaistre chairs the 1981 National Conference on Smoking milestone meeting that developed a national blueprint for action.

1980: Gritz contributes to the Surgeon General’s Report on women and smoking, specifically the section on initiation and maintenance of smoking in women. Between 1988 and 2001, Gritz contributes to an additional eight Surgeon General Reports on smoking and health as an author or editor.

1965: R. Lee Clark, M.D., MD Anderson director and president 1946-1978, serves as a member of the National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health, which compiled data for subsequent Surgeon General Reports. 

1964: LeMaistre becomes the youngest member to join the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on smoking and health, which issued the 1964 landmark report.


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