April 11, 2016 - The Texas Department of State Health Services has awarded a $228,000 grant to continue a University of Houston Law Center research project that tracks Texas municipal smoking ordinances related to second-hand smoke, including smoke-free zones in restaurants, bars, and other public locations, according to Research Professor Allison Winnike.
The grant renews funding through September 2017 for the Texas Tobacco and Second-hand Smoke Surveillance project which researchers have been working on since 2000. The project is the only comprehensive collection of smoking-related laws throughout the state. The ordinances are coded and categorized to facilitate further research on changes in smoke-free zones over time and their relationship to health outcomes.
“We continue to expand upon all the wonderful work of previous researchers by adding to and updating the database with local Texas ordinances related to second-hand smoke.” said Winnike, director of research for the Health Law & Policy Institute.
Winnike, whose primary area of interest is public health law and health legislation, also will take over as the principal investigator for the project.
“This project really combines my interests of monitoring changes in legislation with my interest in public health,” she said.
“It is an honor to work as the principal investigator on this significant long-term research project,” said Winnike. “Our two-year renewal term allows us to continue our data collection and coding work, as well as develop new systems to translate our research into data which is easily-accessible for the public.”
One of the most compelling aspects of the project, said Winnike, is the length of time researchers have been collecting data on smoking ordinance and the changes over time.
“The longitudinal data set is extremely valuable because we can use it to compare changes in smoking ordinances with smoking-related health outcomes,” she said.