Grants fund tobacco research at Massey

VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers have received three grants totaling more than $1 million from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to study the factors that increase the risk of youth tobacco use. Study findings will help inform state policies and strategies to prevent youth tobacco use.

“Massey Cancer Center is committed to discovering novel ways of eliminating cancer in our community,” says Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., associate director for cancer prevention and control at Massey and one of the researchers who received a VFHY grant.

The three grants went into effect in July and will fund research for three years. Research efforts will focus on identifying the social, cultural and institutional factors that motivate youth to start smoking.

“By better understanding these multi-level factors, the data will inform local solutions and policy approaches that might be leveraged to prevent youth from using tobacco,” Fuemmeler says. “Reducing initiation of tobacco use during adolescence has the potential to improve the lives of our residents and ultimately reduce the cancer burden in our state.”

The VFHY empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by reducing and preventing youth tobacco use, substance use and childhood obesity.

“We are pleased to have several projects being conducted at VCU that focus on relevant issues such as e-cigarette and cigar use by youth in Virginia,” says Marty Kilgore, VFHY executive director. “This research will help inform future efforts to reduce and prevent youth tobacco use, not just here in the commonwealth but also across the nation.”

A version of this article was previously published in VCU News.

To learn more about VCU Massey Cancer Center, contact Martha Quinn, executive director of development, at (804) 827-0652 or