Dr. Darla Kendzor, Co-Director of the TSET Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC), and Dr. Jon Hart, Director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline (OTH), are leading a study to address exceptionally high rates of cancer and cancer mortality in areas of Oklahoma that experience persistent poverty.
In Oklahoma, 16 counties meet the criteria for persistent poverty, which means that at least 20% of residents have been living in poverty since 1980. Although the smoking prevalence rate has declined to 14% nationally, the prevalence of smoking remains elevated in these 16 counties with a range of 19% to 32%. Smoking is known to be a major cause of cancer and a contributing factor to high rates of cancer and cancer mortality in counties that experience persistent poverty. Kendzor and Hart have initiated a new study to evaluate the addition of incentives for completing tobacco cessation counseling sessions and quitting smoking for Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline callers. (story continues below)
The target counties in this study are Adair, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Greer, Harmon, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, McCurtain, Okfuskee, Payne, Pushmataha, Seminole, Sequoyah and Tillman. The study will combine Kendzor’s expertise in incentives-based interventions with the standard treatment offered through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, directed by Hart. The study will enroll 160 adults seeking smoking cessation treatment through the OTH who live in any of the 16 counties. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the OTH or the OTH plus incentives program.
The goal is to evaluate whether the incentives-based OTH intervention will increase smoking cessation rates in comparison with standard OTH treatment which includes counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. If successful, Kendzor and Hart’s goal is to sustain this innovative program for all callers from counties experiencing persistent poverty. For more information about this study, please call: 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit OKhelpline.com.
The HPRC is an integral component of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program of the NCI-Designated OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center. Over the past six years, the HPRC has become a nationally-recognized tobacco research center. Modifiable health risk factors that substantially impact the health of Oklahomans have increasingly become a research focus of center investigators (e.g., sedentary lifestyle, risky alcohol and other substance use).
The HPRC receives funding from OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center via an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA225520) and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust contract number R23-02.