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Cancer Prevention
Emory center receives grant to promote smoke-free homes

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The NCI funding will support research that tests an intervention approach to help callers to United Way 2-1-1 make their homes smoke-free. 

ATLANTA - The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded $6.75 million to the Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC) to develop and test a program to help low-income households make their homes smoke-free.   

The five-year project builds upon pilot work the EPRC conducted with funding from the Winship Cancer Insitute of Emory University and the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) to test the program in partnership with local Georgia health departments.  

The CPCRN is funded through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Prevention Research Centers, its flagship program for research on preventing and controlling chronic diseases. The EPRC is one of 10 research institutions funded by the CPCRN.  

The NCI funding will support research that tests an intervention approach to help callers to United Way 2-1-1 make their homes smoke-free.  

United Way 2-1-1 is an information and referral service helpline and has a searchable Website that connects people in need with important community resources such as food and utility assistance, housing and health care.  

“The goal of this project is to protect family members from secondhand smoke. United Way 2-1-1 reaches an important population because callers may have fewer resources to reduce the harmful impact of tobacco use on members of their family” says Michelle Kegler, DrPH, MPH, associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education and EPRC director at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH).  

“Most smokers are aware of the negative health effects of smoking for themselves and are responsive to messages about protecting their loved ones. This project focuses on creating rules about not smoking in the home rather than asking smokers to quit,” explains Kegler.    

According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, and it remains a significant threat to public health. In many cases, the home is the only place that smokers can still smoke due to local or organizational policies. EPRC researchers hope that this project will provide another strategy for reducing the negative health effects of tobacco use and may also help smokers to quit.  

Kegler is leading the Emory project in collaboration with her RSPH colleagues, Cam Escoffery, PhD, MPH and Carla Berg, PhD. It also engages key CPCRN partners at the University of North Carolina, University of Texas Health Sciences Center and Washington University.  

The United Way 2-1-1 sites in these regions - metro Atlanta, North Carolina, Houston and Missouri - will play vital roles in the research project.   

“One key component to a thriving community is living a healthy lifestyle,” says Milton J. Little, Jr., president of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. “We are proud to be part of this excellent program that could improve the quality of life for so many families and households.”  

For more information on the Emory Prevention Research Center, visit

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