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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will award up to $53 million this fiscal year to create a tobacco research program. Funding over five years could reach $273 million, Reuters reports.

The program will create 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) around the country. The goal is to help reduce the number of smoking-related deaths, the article notes. The research may help inform the FDA’s regulation of tobacco products.

Scientists involved in the program are experts in fields including epidemiology, behavior, biology, medicine, economics, chemistry, toxicology, addictions, public health, communications, and marketing.

“While we’ve made tremendous strides in reducing the use of tobacco products in the U.S., smoking still accounts for one in five deaths each year, which is far too many,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, said in a news release. “FDA/NIH partnerships like the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science keep us focused on reducing the burden and devastation of preventable disease caused by tobacco use.”

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