Study Overview

The terrain of tobacco use has changed in the U.S. in recent years. The tobacco industry has drastically diversified.  Little cigars and cigarillos, smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and hookah have emerged and grown in this market. This has particularly impacted the young adult population.

Project DECOY is a federally-funded research study examining tobacco use in young adulthood. Specifically, this study is a collaboration among several college campuses in Georgia and examines tobacco use among young adults. This is a study of both users and nonusers of a range of tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, hookah, and smokeless tobacco.

Participants were contacted via their college email addresses or secondary email addresses three times a year over a two-year period to complete an online survey. They were also asked to provide saliva samples via mail. This study is intended to provide information regarding who uses various tobacco products and how they are used.


Here are some of our recent publications from this study:

1. Risso, D.S., Kozlitina, J., Sainz, E.,Gutierrez, J., Wooding, S.P., Getachew, B., Luiselli, D., Berg, C.J., & Drayna, D. (In press). A re-examination of the associations between TAS2R38 haplotypes and smoking behaviors. Plos One

2. Berg, C. J., Haardörfer, R., Schauer, G. L., Getachew, B., Sarma, R., Shah, J., McDonald, B., Kothari, S., Master, M., Payne, J., Windle, M. (2016). Reasons for Polytobacco Use among Young Adults: Scale Development and Validation. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2,62

3. Haardörfer, R., Berg, C. J., Lewis, M., Payne, J., Pillai, D., McDonald, B., & Windle, M. (2016). Polytobacco, marijuana, and alcohol use patterns in college students: A latent class analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 59, 58-64.

4. Berg, C. J., Haardörfer, R., Lewis, M., Getachew, B., Lloyd, S., Thomas, S. F., Lanier, A., Trepanier, K., Johnston, T., Grimsley, L., Foster, B., Benson, S., Smith, A., Barr, D. B., & Windle, M. (2016). DECOY: Documenting Experiences with Cigarettes and Other Tobacco in Young Adults. American Journal of Health Behavior,40(3):310-21


Meet Our Study Team:

Carla J. Berg, PhD, principal investigator

Michael Windle, PhD, co-investigator

Regine Haardoerfer, PhD, co-investigator

Mike Lewis, PhD, co-investigator

Dana Barr, PhD, co-investigator

Betelihem Getachew, MPH, project coordinator

Other Resources:

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health:

Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education:

National Cancer Institute:

Questions about this study , or need to contact us or change your contact information?

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