Global Action to End Smoking, Formerly Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Awards Grant to Urban Institute to Address Quitting Barriers and Solutions in Marginalized Communities

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New grant to Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center marks first funding commitment under organization’s renewed mission to support smoking cessation and public health worldwide

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Global Action to End Smoking, formerly known as the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, today announced that it will fund research by the Urban Institute to study tobacco-use disorder and nicotine dependence among low-income individuals in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The work conducted by Urban’s Health Policy Center will further understanding of the challenges of quitting among the country’s marginalized and most vulnerable populations. Additionally, it will fill a critical equity research gap relating to the effective delivery of tobacco cessation and treatment and provide tangible solutions designed to reduce smoking rates and improve public health.

“We’re thrilled to work with the experts at the Urban Institute, who will carry out the important work of quantifying the magnitude of the problem of the smoking epidemic among low-income individuals in the U.S.,” said Cliff Douglas, President of Global Action to End Smoking. “Understanding the barriers to cessation is the first step to overcoming them. This work reflects our commitment to end the smoking epidemic worldwide by helping us better understand how best to empower those at the greatest risk of suffering illness and premature death from smoking.”

With support from a Global Action grant, Urban’s health researchers will analyze data from state Medicaid programs on treatments for tobacco-use disorder from 2019 to 2026. This research will allow the experts to estimate the prevalence of smoking and vaping rates among people with low incomes and examine the potential impact of the 2023 and 2024 Medicaid disenrollment on people who smoke. The findings of this work will identify and provide recommendations for the health community, policymakers, and everyday consumers of tobacco products. Urban is a leading nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity.

“Our research will offer key insights into Medicaid prescribing trends for tobacco use disorder and nicotine dependence treatments,” said Urban Institute senior research fellow Lisa Clemans-Cope. “This work will inform efforts to enhance health outcomes and minimize disparities for the leading cause of preventable death and disease.”

The Urban Institute grant falls under Global Action’s newly established Cessation Education program. In addition to continuing to fund research under its Health and Science Research focus area, grants within the Cessation Education program will focus on unearthing challenges to quitting and on better educating consumers, health-care providers, and key public-health stakeholders on the ways people who smoke can improve their health by quitting and moving down the continuum of risk. The work funded in this space focuses on marginalized communities and low- and middle-income countries, where 80% of the world’s tobacco users live.

The Cessation Education initiative is an expansion of Global Action’s existing grant program area that raises awareness of the many cessation strategies and tools available to people who smoke. In addition to the new program, the revamped Global Action website ( will provide the public with the latest evidence-based information on smoking cessation and risk minimization as a living resource for consumers and health care providers. 

“Global Action is energized by our work across the world, from the United Kingdom to Pakistan and the Philippines, because smoking is a truly global epidemic. With the new grant to Urban Institute, we are elevating the work of an institution that will focus on empathy, understanding, and solutions for people who smoke, rather than the judgment and shame they too often face,” continued Douglas.

Global Action to End Smoking is the relaunch of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The charitable organization’s rebrand reflects a new approach to achieving its mission to end the smoking epidemic. While Global Action’s grantmaking will continue to focus on advancing health and science research for robust smoking cessation and reduced-risk solutions, it will also disseminate research findings and information to support people who smoke through its new Cessation Education program. Additionally, Global Action’s Agricultural Transformation Initiative will continue to assist smallholder farmers in moving away from dependence on tobacco growing to achieving more healthful and sustainable livelihoods in Malawi.

You can learn more about the relaunch by watching the following video:

Through September 2023, the organization received charitable gifts from PMI Global Services, Inc (“PMI”) while operating as an entirely independent entity. In October 2023, the organization ended its prior funding agreement with PMI. Global Action has since adopted a formal policy that it will not seek or accept funding from any industry that manufactures tobacco products or non-medicinal nicotine products.

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About Global Action to End Smoking
Global Action to End Smoking is an independent, U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) grantmaking organization accelerating science-based efforts worldwide to end the smoking epidemic. Its mission is to end combustible tobacco use, which remains the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. The organization collaborates with academic and research centers and others to accelerate life-saving research and educational projects. Global Action does not seek or accept funding from companies that produce tobacco products or non-medicinal nicotine products.

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