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Justin Byron, PhD

M. Justin Byron, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, has been awarded a K01 Career Development Grant from the NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The five-year project will develop and test communication campaign messages to encourage dual users of e-cigarettes and cigarettes to quit.

Many adult smokers have taken up e-cigarettes hoping to quit smoking and reduce their health risks. Yet of the 11 million adult e-cigarette users in the US, more than half continue to smoke conventional cigarettes. These “dual users” are at high risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other negative health outcomes.

Through mentored research, Byron will design and test communication campaign messages to educate dual users about their continued health risks and to encourage them to quit cigarettes and ultimately e-cigarettes. He will use a combination of qualitative research with dual users, eye-tracking experiments, and national surveys to optimize campaign messages and ads.

The primary mentor for Byron’s career development award is Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH in the UNC Department of Family Medicine and the co-mentor is Joseph Cappella, PhD from the UPenn Annenberg School for Communication. The mentorship team also includes Dr. Noel Brewer, Dr. Paschal Sheeran, and Dr. Marcy Boynton from UNC. The grant is titled “Designing and evaluating communication for dual users of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes.”