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Apr 06, 2023

Jennifer Cofer and Alex Hurst featured on UTHealth Houston’s Well Connected Podcast

Jennifer Cofer and Alex Hurst, the director and program director of MD Anderson's EndTobaccoⓇ Program, joined the hosts of UTHealth Houston Well Connected Podcast on March 9, to dive into their personal relationships to EndTobacco’s work. The conversation covered timely topics about tobacco, including vulnerable populations, modeling positive behavior, cultural origins and implications for some tobacco use, and more.

The two leaders discussed how the shifting aim and scope of the commercial tobacco production industry, such as campaigns to push flavored tobacco products to younger audiences, has transformed the public health landscape. As Cofer mentions, “Kids are the first and foremost vulnerable population we want to protect from these products, as they are also what the industry knows as their future consumers.” Predatory practices in marketing and targeting are well-documented with the tobacco industry, and so they note that our challenge as tobacco control professionals is even greater as we think about which populations are most at risk of these practices. It’s also a reason why the EndTobacco team focuses much of their prevention work on youth and young adults.

Electronic nicotine delivery devices — also known as vapes, e-cigs, pods, ENDS — were another big topic of discussion. “Almost every day there is a new product in the market and something else we are up against. How do we keep up with that ever-evolving landscape?”, Hurst said. With at least 7,000 flavors on the market (and probably much more than that) today, the challenge can seem daunting. They emphasized the need to be audience-centric in our interventions. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when approaching the new “wild, wild west” of electronic nicotine delivery devices.

Well Connected is a podcast for faculty, staff, residents and fellows of UTHealth Houston by the Employee Assistance & Well-being Programs Office. It’s co-hosted by Julie Van Orden, a Senior Program Manager - Wellness at UTHealth Houston, and a member of the Eliminate Tobacco Use Texas Steering Committee.

To learn more and stream the episode, you can visit:

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