Jennifer Pearson, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Jennifer Pearson


Research interests

I conduct mixed-method research with a focus on tobacco regulatory science- specifically, e-cigarettes and tobacco products claiming to be "natural," "additive-free," or "organic," and influence policies and regulations. I am now expanding my area of expertise from tobacco control to “cannabis control” to consider how policies affecting all legal consumer substances (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and opioids) interact and ultimately affect public health.


Current Active

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Identifying #: R15DA047606
  • Title: Recreational cannabis legalization in Nevada: a multi-method approach to evaluating changes in adolescent cannabis use and the influence of dispensary and outdoor advertising density
  • Project Period: 03/15/2019 – 02/28/2022
  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Identifying #: R01DA044125
  • Title:  Varenicline OTC Trial on Efficacy and Safety
  • Project Period: 09/01/2017 – 07/30/2022
  • Role on Project: Co-Investigator (PI: Scott Leischow)                                           

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Title: National Longitudinal Survey of Tobacco Use - Population Assessment of Tobacco Health (PATH) Study
  • Identifying #:  HHSN271201600001C
  • Project period: 4/1/16- 11/30/24
  • Role on project: Sub-contractor (PI: Andrew Hyland)

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse & Food and Drug Administration

  • Title: Greenwashing cigarettes: perceptual and behavioral evidence of inaccurate modified risk advertising
  • Proposed dates: 04/01/2020 - 03/31/2023
  • Role: Consultant  (PI: Moran)


Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse/Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products

  • Identifying #: U54CA229973
  • Title: Examining the effects of advertising, packaging, and labeling on perceptions, use, and exposure of combustible tobacco products
  • Project period: 09/14/2018 – 08/31/2023
  • Role on Project: Co-Investigator
  • Competitive pilot funding awarded through parent center grant

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse/Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products

  • Title: The “organic” descriptor and its association with expectancies, subjective effects, and smoking topography: a pilot study
  • Project period: 06/01/2019 – 05/31/2020
  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator 

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse/Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products

  • Identifying #: U54CA229973 -- Competitive pilot funding awarded through parent center grant
  • Title: The “organic” descriptor and its association with expectancies, subjective effects, and smoking topography: a pilot study
  • Project period: 06/01/2019 – 05/31/2020
  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse/Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products

  • Identifying #: K01DA037950
  • Title: EMA and Lab Assessment of Nicotine Dependence among Dual ENDS Users
  • Project Period: 09/01/2014 08/31/2019
  • Role on Project: Principal Investigator

Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse/Food and Drug Administration

  • Title: Perceptions of Nicotine and Relative Harm of Tobacco Products in U.S. Young Adults
  • Project Period: 8/1/2017 - 7/30/2019
  • Role on Project: Consultant (PI: Andrea Villanti)

Selected publications

  • Amato MS, Bottcher MM, Cha S, Jacobs MA, Pearson JL, Graham AL. (2020). “It’s really addictive and I’m trapped”: A qualitative analysis of the reasons for quitting vaping among treatment-seeking young people. epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106599.
  • Amroussia N*, Watanabe M*, Pearson JL. (2020). Seeking safety: a focus group study of young adults’ cannabis-related attitudes and behavior in a state with legalized recreational cannabis. Accepted 11/9/2020 at Harm Reduction Journal.
  • Glasser A, Johnson A, Niaura R, Abrams D, Pearson JL. (2020). Youth vaping and tobacco use in context in the United States: results from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Nicotine Tob Res. [epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa010.
  • Iles I, Pearson JL, Lindblom E, Moran M. (2020). “Tobacco and water”: testing the health halo effect of Natural American Spirit Cigarette ads and its relationship with perceived absolute harm and use intentions. Health Communication. [epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31922429.
  • Lensch T*, Sloan K*, Ausmus J*, Pearson JL, Clements-Nolle K, Goodman S, Hammond D. (2020). Cannabis use and driving under the influence: behaviors and attitudes by state-level legal sale of recreational cannabis. Accepted 11/3/2020 at Preventive Medicine.
  • Pearson JL, Sharma E, Rui N, Halenar M, Johnson AL, Cummings MK, Hammad H, Kaufman AR, Tworek C, Goniewicz ML, Kimmel HL, Tanski S, Compton WM, Day H, Ambrose BK, Bansal-Travers M, Silveira ML, Abrams DB, Limpert J, Travers MJ, Borek N, Hyland AJ, Stanton CA. (2020). The impact of ENDS use on smoking progression or reduction one year later among young adult ever cigarette smokers: results from Waves 1-3 (2013-2016) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Accepted 6/25/2020 at JAMA Open.
  • Pearson JL & Villanti AC. (2020). It's past time to consider cannabis in vaping research. Nicotine Tob Res. [epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa012.
  • Wackowski OA, O’Connor RJ, Pearson JL. (2020). Smokers’ exposure to perceived modified risk claims for e-cigarettes, snus and smokeless tobacco in the United States. Nicotine Tob Res. [epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa159
  • Amroussia N,* Gustafsson P, Pearson JL. (2019). Do inequalities add up? Intersectional inequalities in smoking by sexual orientation and education among U.S. adults. Prev Med Rep. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.101032.
  • Amroussia N*, Pearson JL, Gustafsson PE. (2019). What drives us apart? Decomposing intersectional inequalities in cigarette smoking by education and sexual orientation among U.S. adults. Int J Equity Health.18(1):109.
  • Leavens EL, Stevens E, Brett E, Hebert E, Villanti AC, Pearson JL, Wagener TL. (2019). JUUL electronic cigarette use patterns, other tobacco product use, and reasons for use among ever users: Results from a convenience sample. Addict Behav. 95:178-183. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.02.011.
  • Pearson JL, Moran M, Delnevo CD, Villanti AC, Lewis MJ. (2019). Widespread belief that organic and additive-free tobacco products are less harmful than regular tobacco products: Results from the 2017 US Health Information National Trends Survey. Nicotine Tob Res. 21(8). DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntz015.
  • Stanton CA, Bansal-Travers M, Johnson AL, Sharma E, Katz L, Ambrose BK, Silveira ML, Day H, Sargent J, Borek N, Compton WM, Johnson S, Kimmel H, Kaufman AR, Limpert J, Abrams D, Cummings KM, Goniewicz ML, Tanski S, Travers MJ, Hyland AJ, Pearson JL. (2019). Longitudinal e-cigarette and cigarette use among US youth in the PATH Study (2013-2015). J Natl Cancer Inst. 111. 1088-1096. 10.1093/jnci/djz006.  DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djz006. PMID: 30689915
  • Abrams DA, Glasser AM, Pearson JL, Villanti AC, Collins LK, Niaura RS. (2018). Harm minimization and tobacco control: reframing societal views of nicotine use to rapidly save lives. Annu Rev Pub Health, 39(14): 1-14.21.
  • Abrams DB, Glasser AM, Villanti AC, Pearson JL, Rose S, Niaura RS. (2018). Managing nicotine without smoke to save lives now: Evidence for harm minimization. Prev Med. Dec; 117: 88-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.06.010.
  • Cohn A, Johnson AL, Rose SW, Pearson JL, Villanti AC, Stanton C. (2018). Population-level patterns and mental health and substance use correlates of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and co-use in US young adults and adults: Results from the population assessment for tobacco and health. Am J Addict. 27(6): 491-500.
  • Coleman B, Rostron B, Johnson SE, Persoskie A, Pearson JL, Stanton C, Choi K, Anic G, Goniewicz M, Cummings KM, Kasza K, Silveira M, Delnevo C, Niaura R, Abrams D, Kimmel H, Borek N, Compton W, Hyland A. (2018). Transitions in electronic cigarette use among adults in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, Waves 1 and 2 (2013-2015). Tob Control.28(1): 50-59. DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054174. PMID: 29695458
  • Collins L, Glasser AM, Abudayyeh H, Pearson JL, Villanti AC. (2018). E-cigarette marketing and communication: how e-cigarette companies market e-cigarettes and the public engages with e-cigarette information. Nicotine Tob Res. 21(1): 14-24. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntx284. PMID: 29315420
  • Moran MB, Brown J, Lindblom E, Kennedy R, Cohn AM, Lagasse L, Pearson JL. (2018). Beyond 'natural': Cigarette ad tactics that mislead about relative risk. Tob Reg Sci. 4(5):3-19.
  • Pearson JL, Reed DM*, Villanti AC. (2018). Vapes, e-cigs, and mods: what do young adults call e-cigarettes? Nicotine Tob Res. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/nty223 [epub ahead of print]
  • Sawdey MD, Day HR, Coleman BN, Gardner LD, Johnson SE, Limpert J, Hammad HT, Goniewicz ML, Abrams DB, Stanton C, Pearson JL, Kaufman A, Kimmel HL, Delnevo C, Compton W, Bansal-Travers M, Niaura R, Hyland A, Ambrose BK. (2018). Associations of risk factors of e-cigarette and cigarette use and susceptibility to use among baseline PATH Study youth participants (2013–2014).  Addict Behav. 91: 51-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.027. PMID: 30423998
  • Smiley S*, Kiersted EC*, Harvey E*, Abudayyeh H, Pearson JL. (2018). An exploratory analysis of adult daily smokers’ experience using e-cigarettes in smoke-free places. Tob Ind Dis. 16:54.
  • Glasser AM, Katz L, Pearson JL, Abudayyah H, Niaura RS, Abrams DA, Villanti AC. (2017). Overview of electronic nicotine delivery systems: a systematic review, Am J Prev Med, 52(2):e33-e66.
  • Kasza KA, Ambrose BK, Conway KP, Borek N, Taylor K, Goniewicz ML, Cummings KM, Sharma E, Pearson JL, Green VR, Kaufman AR, Bansal-Travers M, Travers MJ, Kwan J, Tworek C, Cheng YC, Yang L, Pharris-Ciurej N, van Bemmel DM, Backinger CL, Compton WM, Hyland AJ. (2017). Tobacco-product use by adults and youths in the United States in 2013 and 2014. N Engl J Med, 376(4):342-353. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa1607538. PMCID: PMC5317035.
  • Pearson JL, Elmasry H, Das B*, Smiley SL*, Rubin L*, DeAtley T*, Harvey E*, Niaura R, Abrams DB. (2017). Comparison of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) versus direct measurement of e-cigarette use with a Bluetooth-enabled e-cigarette: a pilot study. JMIR Res Protoc, 6(5): e84. PMCID: PMC5468540.
  • Pearson JL, Hitchman SC, Brose LS, Bauld L, Glasser AM, Villanti AC,  McNeill A, Abrams DB, Cohen JE. (2017) Recommended core items to assess e-cigarette use in population-based surveys, Tob Control, [epub ahead of print].
  • Pearson JL, Johnson A, Villanti A, Glasser AM, Collins L, Cohn AM, Rose SW, Niaura R, Stanton CA. (2017). Misperceptions of harm among American Spirit smokers:  results from Wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, 2013-2014, Tob Control, 26(e1): e61-e67. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053265. PMID: 27924008
  • Pearson JL, Johnson AL, Johnson SE, Stanton CA, Villanti AC, Niaura RS, Glasser AM, Wang B, Abrams DB, Cummings KM, Hyland A. (2017). Adult interest in using a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP):  findings from Wave 1 of the PATH Study (2013-2014), Addiction, [epub ahead of print].
  • Smiley SL*, DeAtley T*, Rubin LF*, Harvey E*, Kierstead EC, Webb Hooper M, Niaura RS, Abrams DB, Pearson JL. (2017). Early subjective sensory experiences with "cigalike" e-cigarettes among African American menthol smokers: a qualitative study. Nicotine Tob Res.  DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntx102. 2018 Aug 14;20(9):1069-1075. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx102. PMID: 28549156.
  • Villanti AC, Feirman SP, Niaura RS, Pearson JL, Glasser AM, Collins LK, Abrams DB. (2017). How do we determine the impact of e-cigarettes on cigarette smoking cessation or reduction? Review and recommendations for answering the research question with scientific rigor. Addiction113: 391–404. DOI: 1111/add.14020.
  • Pearson JL, Smiley SL, Rubin LF, Anesetti-Rothermel A, Elmasry H, Davis M, DeAtley T, Harvey E, Kirchner T, Abrams DB. (2016). The Moment Study: protocol for a mixed-method observational cohort study of the Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS) initiation process among adult cigarette smokers. BMJ Open, 6(4):e011717. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011717. PMID: 27105716.
  • Pearson JL, Richardson A, Feirman SP, Villanti AC, Cantrell J, Cohn A, Tacelosky M, Kirchner TR. (2016). American Spirit pack descriptors and perceptions of harm: a crowdsourced comparison of modified packs. Nicotine Tob Res, 18(8):1749-1756. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw097. PMID: 27170707.
  • Pearson JL, Stanton CA, Cha S, Niaura RS, Luta G, Graham AL. (2014). E-cigarettes and smoking cessation: insights and cautions from a secondary analysis of data from a study of online treatment-seeking smokers. Nicotine Tob Res, 17(10):1219-27. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu269. PMCID: PMC4592337.
  • Pearson JL, Abrams DB, Niaura RS, Richardson A, Vallone DM. (2013). Public support for mandated nicotine reduction in cigarettes. Am J Public Health, 103(3):562-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300890. PMCID: PMC3673497.
  • Pearson JL, Richardson A, Niaura RS, Vallone DM, Abrams DB. (2012). e-Cigarette awareness, use, and harm perceptions in US adults. Am J Public Health, 102(9):1758-66. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300526. PMCID: PMC3474361.
  • Pearson JL, Windsor R, El-Mohandes A, Perry DC. (2009). Evaluation of the immediate impact of the Washington, D.C., smoke-free indoor air policy on bar employee environmental tobacco smoke exposure. Public Health Reports, S1(S1):134-42; PMCID: 1961881.


  • PhD, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
  • MPH, Community Health, George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, 2007
  • BA, English, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2002