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May 24, 2024

Highlights from the 2024 Eliminate Tobacco Use National and State Summits

The 2024 Eliminate Tobacco Use (ETU) National Summit, held on April 10th convened 244 tobacco control advocates, both virtually and in-person, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Hosted by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in partnership with the University of Texas System, the 9th annual summit included perspectives from ETU state leadership in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia. Initiative founders, Dr. Ernest Hawk and Dr. David Lakey, and EndTobacco Program Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Cofer provided opening remarks, setting the stage for a day of impactful presentations and discussions about reducing tobacco use in the higher education setting.

The national summit featured three keynote speakers and panels of higher education and student leaders from around the country to share insights into the timely challenges and successes of tobacco control efforts. The keynote speakers included:

  • Monica Cornelius, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who shared recent information about health harms and national tobacco product trends. Dr. Cornelius shared a hopeful and promising data point about willingness to quit vaping and emphasized the need for increased cessation efforts: more than 60% of the young people who currently vape want to quit.
  • Amanda Graham, Ph.D., of the Truth Initiative, who shared startling statistics on how the tobacco industry is making quitting tobacco much harder. Research from her colleagues at the Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute found that cigarette manufacturers are making bigger, cheaper disposable e-cigarettes that come in increasingly higher nicotine strengths.
  • Jessica Barrington-Trimis, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California Institute for Addiction Science, who guided the audience through the changing nicotine landscape and its impact on the young adult population. Dr. Barrington-Trimis also provided data to support a dual focus on tobacco and cannabis, since there is often related and co-occurring use.

Alongside the national summit, ETU partner states organized their own state summits to foster regional cooperation and local advancements in tobacco policy, prevention, treatment and cessation initiatives.

ETU New Jersey hosted 59 people in-person at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey the week before the National Summit on April 3rd to inspire collaboration and discuss strategies for advancing tobacco-free policies in the state. The summit highlighted the importance of addressing disparities in tobacco use and included speakers and representatives from the Rutgers University Institute for Nicotine & Tobacco Studies, Tobacco-Free for a Healthy New Jersey, Lindsay Meyer Teen Institute, Partners in Prevention and American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

NJ Summit 2024

ETU Texas hosted 172 people, virtually and in-person, in Houston the day after the national summit. The summit focused on emerging trends in tobacco use in Texas and college tobacco initiatives and policies. The summit also featured informative panels on student substance use data, hookah's epidemiology, marketing and regulatory considerations and campus communication resources. Universities, colleges and community organizations in attendance reported on their action plans for the coming year.

ETU Virginia hosted 39 people, for an in-person training in Richmond, Virginia, on April 11th, to develop strategies to further reduce tobacco and vaping use in the state. The summit highlighted tobacco control policy progress in Virginia, emerging trends in nicotine and cannabis vaping and common challenges to effective tobacco control policy implementation. Additionally, tobacco control experts were available to meet one-on-one with colleges and universities to answer questions related to their institution’s current tobacco control efforts.

Collectively, the national and state summit events reached 514 attendees from over 150 organizations and campuses across 22 states, underscoring the widespread commitment to combating tobacco use. As Dr. Hawk aptly stated in his closing remarks, “We are making progress in establishing tobacco-free cultures as the norm in Texas and beyond, and it’s thanks to all of you.” The ETU leadership team is thrilled by the success of the 2024 summits and eagerly await next year’s National Summit, scheduled for April 23rd, 2025.

ETU Summit 2025 Savethe Date