Interrupting the Initiation of Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Rural California Firefighters


Interrupting the Initiation of Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Rural California Firefighters

Who We Are

This is a community-based participatory research project and is being conducted in collaboration with PIRE-Ca (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation). The overarching aim is to interrupt initiation of smokeless tobacco use (SLT) and nicotine pouch (NP) use among new cohorts of rural California firefighters.

Smokeless tobacco rates among firefighters in the U.S. are high and growing. Moreover, nicotine pouches are increasingly popular among firefighters. Rural populations in California also have higher smokeless tobacco use rates than the general population and are a priority for California’s Endgame goals. Firefighters are role models and bedrocks of rural communities. Focusing on the firefighter training and recruitment stage may provide a window of opportunity to disrupt SLT/NP initiation; previous research has found a significant proportion of U.S. firefighters initiate SLT use after joining the fire service. The proposed project will uncover pivotal points along a fire student’s training path in which effective policy and programing could change social norms and prevent fire students from initiating smokeless tobacco use. An underlying hypothesis is that a new firefighter is particularly vulnerable to nicotine pouch and SLT initiation at the start of their career when their identity as a firefighter is forming. Therefore, if a new firefighter can abstain from using nicotine pouches and SLT for the first year or two of service, they will be able to continue their career as a firefighter with a much smaller risk of initiating use of these products. If successful, these partnerships and this pilot work will lay the groundwork for a full CPPRA application, which will expand to test several interventions informed by the rural firefighter participation in this proposed pilot.

Our Goals

1. Partnership Building: Develop and grow partnerships with local fire training programs at community colleges, CAL FIRE, and at local fire departments.

2. Community Advisory Board: Convene a Community Advisory Board (CAB) consisting of fire representatives to identify and implement strategies.

3. Prevention Education: Based on gathered data develop and test education materials about smokeless tobacco products.

4. Policy: review current policy and develop recommendations.

Funded by the University of California: Tobacco Related Disease Research Program

Elizabeth Meza – Health Communications Specialist

Call: 323.

Katie Moose – Co-Principle Investigator

Call: 916.945.4160 2. Email:


Coming soon