Duke Center for Smoking Cessation (CSC)


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The Duke CSC is dedicated to ending smoking addiction through research.

Under the direction of Jed Rose, PhD, the co-creator of the nicotine skin patch, the CSC works to develop and evaluate new smoking cessation treatments, and to find new applications and combinations of existing treatments. The CNSCR conducts both human and animal subject studies that probe the mechanisms underlying nicotine addiction and apply this knowledge to further cessation treatments. Some of the CSC’s current studies test investigational approaches, while others investigate the efficacy of using existing treatments in new ways. Other studies, in collaboration with the Duke University Department of Radiology and Wake Forest University, use state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to investigate nicotine’s effects on the brain. The CSC also uses pre-clinical models (including effects of nicotine in rodents) to address questions about nicotine and addiction that are difficult to address in human subjects.

Nicotine addiction is the most common form of drug addiction in the United States and one of the deadliest. According to The American Cancer Society, each year, tobacco use causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides and murders combined. Given all the reasons not to smoke, why do people continue to do so? CSC researchers are continually exploring new ways to help discover the numerous psychological and chemical reasons underlying smoking addiction, and then using these discoveries to develop improved approaches to cessation.

CSC researchers understand the Surgeon General’s assertion that it may take smokers several attempts at quitting before smokers are finally able to kick the habit. Some smokers may try to quit “cold turkey,” but less than 1 in 20 individuals succeed, highlighting the need for improved treatments. Some smokers, believing that it is less harmful, switch to a lower yield cigarette (i.e. Lights, Ultra Lights) not realizing that a low-tar cigarette can be just as harmful as a high-tar cigarette due to the smoker taking deeper puffs, puffing more frequently or covering ventilation holes in the filter.

The Duke CSC is not a treatment facility; therefore participation in one of our studies does not guarantee success at quitting smoking.

Jed E. Rose, PhD, Director
Smoking cessation treatment development; effects of nicotine and alcohol on the brain; brain imaging studies

Eric Westman, MD, Medical Director
Pharmacological treatments for smoking cessation, oral nicotine replacement, nutrition and metabolism

Edward D. Levin, PhD, Director of Preclinical Trials
Nicotine addiction, cognitive function, learning, memory, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, toxicology, effects of prenatal nicotine exposure

F. Joseph McClernon, PhD, Principal Investigator
Cognitive, behavioral and emotional effects of smoking and smoking withdrawal in humans; fMRI imaging studies; smoking and mental illness

H. Scott Swartzwelder, PhD, Principal Investigator
Effects of drug abuse on the brain and behavior, alcohol effects on learning and memory, underage drinking

Frederique Behm, CRA, Administrative Director, Principal Investigator
Nicotine addiction and effects of smoking on the brain and behavior; clinical evaluation and therapy in humans