Health Behavior


The Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is focused on understanding all areas of tobacco control. This includes research into the components of tobacco products, documenting and understanding tobacco marketing, and influencing and assessing the impact of tobacco control policies regionally and nationally. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease. If we applied what we already know about tobacco prevention and cessation, the toll of cancer deaths related to tobacco use would be cut by one third.

Scientific faculty in the Department of Health Behavior provides fundamental data that is the basis for evaluation of tobacco products and tobacco marketing. Faculty members are often called upon to play a leadership role in national policy initiatives. Their research adds to the existing knowledge base and are reliable resource to smokers, businesses, teachers, administrators and national public policy experts regarding research, information and assistance with tobacco control issues.

The individual tobacco control programs within the Department of Health Behavior support the research mission, and future, provides education and information at every level: to individuals who want to stop smoking, to local and regional communities and businesses who wish to adopt tobacco-free programs and to government agencies seeking peer-reviewed scientific data in support of policy change.

The mission: To provide scientific evidence and technical support to reduce tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality as soon as possible.

The vision: To create a world free from diseases caused by tobacco 


The Department includes a faculty of eight PhD/MD scientists. The Department’s scientific administrator is Craig Steger (716-845-8170) and Office Manager is Lori Jurkowski (716-845-8605). The departmental office is located in Carlton House, RM 315

Andrew Hyland, PhD - Chair and Director of New York State Smokers' Quitline
Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD - Director of Cancer Prevention & Detection Center
Richard J. O'Connor, PhD - Research Scientist, Tobacco Research Laboratory
Mark J. Travers, PhD, MS - Research Scientist,
Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, MS - Research Scientist, Communications Lab
Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD – Research Scientist, Nicotine and Tobacco product Assessment Resource (NicoTAR)

Health Behavior Projects

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Roswell Park Cancer Institute offers a wide range of tobacco control programs to support individuals and communities to reduce the tolls of tobacco use.

Roswell Park Cessation Services

Roswell Park Cessation ServicesFor over half a century RPCI has delivered smoking cessation services. Within the last 20 years, RPCI has managed helplines including the establishment in 1999 of the existing NYS Smokers’ Quitline. Today, Roswell Park Cessation Services (RPCS) provides comprehensive, evidence-based cessation interventions for Roswell Park Cancer Institute patients, employees, state quitlines, health plans and employer sponsored programs. The suite of RPCS services include telephonic  and web-based quit coaching, text and other technology-based cessation services and the offer of stop-smoking medications. If you need help quitting or know someone who does, click here for more information about our program or call 1-877-500-2393.

Western New York Tobacco-Free Coalition

The Western New York Tobacco-Free CoalitionThe Western New York Tobacco-Free Coalition, funded by the New York Tobacco Control Program, engages community stakeholders and youth to change policies and norms about tobacco and tobacco use. Community Partners and the youth leaders from the Reality Check Program

  • Reduce the impact of retail tobacco marketing on youth
  • Establish tobacco-free community norms through tobacco-free outdoor air polices
  • Lower secondhand smoke exposure through smoke-free housing policies
  • Reduce tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies
  • Diminish tobacco industry presence on social media.

The Western New York Tobacco-Free Coalition offers services in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara Orleans and Wyoming counties. Information can be found at and by calling 1-716-845-3407.

Health Systems Change Center: Promoting a Tobacco-Free WNY region

The Health Systems Change Center of Western New York (WNY) is one of eight centers across the state funded by the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program. The Center collaborates with targeted-health care providers (e.g., hospitals, programs providing services to smokers with mental health conditions, Federally Qualified Health Centers, etc.) to provide assistance with the adoption of policies and programs to help smokers achieve cessation. Staff from the WNY Center promotes systems changes among organizations located in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Information can be found at; and by calling 716-845-8255.

Just Breathe

Just Breathe is a program provided by the Departments of Nursing and Health Behavior. The program operates in partnership with Roswell Park Cessation Services. Just Breathe assists high risk Roswell Park patients and their families to become tobacco free. Emerging evidence suggests that tobacco use interferes with all cancer treatments. Just Breathe participants are provided cessation coaching and other support services. For information, call 716-845-8803.

Survey Research and Data Acquisition Resource

Survey Research Data Acquisition ResourceSurvey Research and Data Acquisition Resource (SRDAR) is a collaborative core resource within RPCI that can provide data collection and study design services for investigators from different research programs. This resource produces high quality data at a lower cost than what could be obtained by investigators individually or from outside sub-contractors.

Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment Resource (NicoTAR)

Roswell Park’s newly created Nicotine and Tobacco product Assessment Resource (NicoTAR) specializes in testing nicotine-containing tobacco products collected during various research projects, including population studies and clinical trials. NicoTAR provides resources to testing nicotine amounts in several of the products; the nicotine inhaled yields and levels delivered to users of the devices. To date, NicoTAR has developed and validated the analytical methods for the analysis of nicotine content in various products. It is currently seeking accreditation from recognized quality systems such as Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO, Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, Director.

Communications Laboratory

The state-of-the-art communications laboratory conducts studies evaluating consumer response to product warnings, tobacco marketing, cessation information, point-of-sale displays, and other types of health behavior communications using mobile eye-tracking, web-based surveys, and focus group methodologies.
Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, MS, Director.

Tobacco Pack Image Library (TPIL)

The Tobacco Pack Image Library is a comprehensive data base developed and maintained to track changes in tobacco packaging. Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, MS, Director.

Tobacco Research Laboratory (TRL)

TRL assesses design features of leading cigarette brands throughout the world, human smoking behavior and perceptions of products to determine how smokers respond to changes in cigarette design. The TRL measures the impact of exposure and beliefs about the products. The well-equipped laboratory offers state-of-the-art apparatus for cigarette design evaluation. The TLR also houses the International Tobacco Products Repository (ITPR), which began in 2003 as an independent system for collecting and tracking tobacco products purchased in different countries. The collection currently includes samples from 18 countries. The goal is to create cohort data on product characteristics of leading brands in all countries. The laboratory is currently focused on developing standards and methods for evaluating tobacco products. Richard O’Connor, PhD, Director.

International Tobacco Products Repository (ITPR)

The ITPR began in 2003 as the first independent system for collecting and tracking tobacco products purchased in different countries. The collection currently includes samples from 17 countries. The goal is to create cohort data on product characteristics of leading brands in all countries. Richard O’Connor, PhD, Director

The Air Pollution Exposure Research Laboratory (APERL)

The APERL offers controlled ventilation and environmental conditions under which experiments examine the emissions from a range of burning tobacco products and other sources of air pollution. The laboratory also can accommodate actual smokers in studies looking at tobacco product differences in smoking behavior.
Mark J. Travers, PhD, Director.

Roswell Docs

Millions of internal Tobacco Industry documents, many that reveal the true intent of an industry that hid the dangers of smoking from the public, have been scanned and housed by Roswell staff, and are available via the Internet to the public. See how the industry works to initiate youth smoking, to lobby, package, and advertise.