Jill Murphy, Health Department, and her project staff team of 15 undergraduate and graduate students and alumni surveyed more than 500 adult cigarette smokers and e-cigarettes users over 13 days of the 2019 New York State Fair as part of the “Patterns of Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in New York State” research project.
Murphy’s research interests include tobacco control and cancer prevention. Previously she conducted a survey of tobacco users at the fair in 2011. This latest research at the fair will allow her to compare changes (from 2011 to 2019) in the patterns of electronic cigarette use among adults in New York state and examine smokers’ beliefs about the harm or safety of various tobacco and nicotine projects.
Murphy teaches epidemiology courses where students learn about how to collect, gather and analyze survey data to answer a research question. This project at the fair provided a fun and real-world experience for students to see how data is gathered from humans “in the field,” which in this case was the fairgrounds.
Several SUNY Cortland undergraduate and graduate students took part in experiential learning and were able to apply and practice their survey research skills and communication skills as they interacted with fairgoers and invited them to participate in a brief survey. Also, the students had the chance to speak with potential college-bound students who are interested in attending SUNY Cortland and speak with numerous proud SUNY Cortland alumni who were at the fair.
Now that the surveys are complete, Murphy will work with undergraduate students to compile the data, analyze it and then write up the results for publication and dissemination. The findings from this research will be important given the public health epidemic of vaping which has received considerable attention in the news.