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Grant Will Develop Cell Phone Sampling Strategy to Survey Young Adults

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The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health has received a $2.1 million, four-year grant from the National Cancer Institute. The grant will be used to develop and implement an innovative sampling approach designed to improve knowledge about tobacco use by young adults and associated use risk factors.

With a cell phone in practically everyone's pocket or purse, many people are difficult to reach on traditional landline phones. That is especially true for young adults, persons ages 18-25, who have the highest smoking rate of any age group. To successfully and accurately survey this group's tobacco use, public health researchers have found a need to move beyond traditional survey strategies that generate a random sample of household landline phone numbers. By devising a new sampling method that accesses cell phones, UMDNJ researchers hope to make the quality of data better than ever.

"While we recognize that the increase in cell phone-only households has created a challenge for traditional surveys, the high rate of cell phone ownership among young adults might minimize or even eliminate prior methodological issues related to sampling young adults," says award recipient Cristine Delnevo, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor and director of the Center for Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Research at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health (SPH). "Our research aims to develop and implement a cell phone sampling approach to generate nationally representative tobacco control data for young adults and consider the strategy’s implications by comparing it to traditional methods and emerging technologies."

The SPH team will evaluate the stability of a random-digital-dialing sampling approach targeted to cell phones by conducting two waves of data collection. And it will update the tobacco control knowledge base on young adults by analyzing its tobacco-specific survey data with respect to the use of other tobacco products, cessation of tobacco, attitudes towards tobacco control policies, and participation in tobacco industry marketing practices.


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