Pebbles Fagan, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education
Director, Center for the Study of Tobacco
Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health


Phone: 501-526-2294
Fax: 501-526-6709

Research Experience

I am a behavioral scientist and have over 25 years of experience in conducting research that aims to increase our knowledge on how to reduce tobacco- and cancer-related health disparities in racial/ethnic, socially disadvantaged, and marginalized communities.  I have used team-based science to examine social, behavioral, and biobehavioral factors associated with health disparities.

As an undergraduate student assistant, I worked in the biology lab at the University of Virginia. I became more engaged in research during my master of public health program at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. I helped to develop a survey on HIV knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and the evaluation components for the Healthy Baby Project, which aimed to reduce infant mortality rates in New Orleans, Louisiana.  During my doctoral program at Texas A&M University, I conducted research to understand the readability of cancer prevention materials, marketing of tobacco products in low and high density areas in Harare, Zimbabwe, and used mixed-methods to evaluate the relationship between self- and collective efficacy in a community-based partnership board in Bryan, Texas.  After completing my doctoral degree in 1997, I began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health and Dana Farber Cancer Institute to increase my skills in conducting randomized community trials that aimed to reduce tobacco use among working adults, women, and adolescents.

In 2001, I joined the Tobacco Control Research Branch, National Cancer Institute as a Health Scientist. My notable work includes co-founding the Tobacco Research Network on Disparities (TReND), the first national research network designed to stimulate novel collaborative research in tobacco related health disparities. My leadership resulted in the publication of over 10 special journal issues and reports, collaborative research, and increased diversity and inclusion in research.  In 2011, I left the federal government and began serving as an Associate Professor and Program Director for the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. I had the opportunity to lead the Addictive Carcinogens Working Group, which resulted in numerous publications that aimed to increase our understanding of factors that influence flavored tobacco use.

In 2016, I joined the faculty at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health as a Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco.  I serve as the Deputy Director of Research on the administrative core of a health disparities center grant and principal investigator of the center’s F.R.E.S.H. project, which aims to reduce cancer risks by helping African American women smokers in rural Delta counties implement smokefree policies in the home. As the principal investigator, I completed a study that developed and pilot tested messages that aim to reduce secondhand smoke exposure among African American breast cancer survivors. I am collaborating with team of researchers to develop and implement patient navigator models to reduce disparities in cancer care among rural and marginalized groups.

I have also been engaged in  tobacco regulatory research since 2009. I was instrumental in advancing a series of papers that informed the content of several reports that describe the impact of menthol cigarettes on the public’s health.  I am the Director of the Contextual Knowledge Methods Core for the Virginia Commonwealth University, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products. My research uses mixed-methods including social media to understand how cigarette and cigar smokers use electronic cigarette/vaping devices and factors that influence electronic cigarette use.

Recent Publications

1Sakuma, K.K., Dolcini, M.M., Seifert, J., Greaves, M., Fagan, P., Wilson, M., Felicitas-Perkins, J.Q., Blanco, L., Trinidad, D.R. (in press). Hookah and electronic inhalant device use and perceptions among African American youth and young adults: Are we asking the right questions? Health Education & Behavior.

Breland, A., Balster, R.L., Cobb, C., Fagan, P., Foulds, J., Koch, J.R., Lipato, T., Saliba, N., Shihadeh, A., Sun, S., Eissenberg, T. (2019). Answering questions about electronic cigarettes using a multidisciplinary model. American Psychology, 74(3):368-379. doi:10.1037/amp0000426.

Soule, E.K., Sakuma, K.K., Palafox, S., Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T.A., Thompson, N., Fagan, P. (2019). Content analysis of internet marketing strategies used to promote flavored electronic cigarettes. Addictive Behaviors, 91:128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.012.

Fagan, P., Guy, M., Alexander, L.A., Oliver, V. (2019).  Those Left Behind in the Cinders of Tobacco Combustion.   Current Reports,

Davis, D., Hickman, N., Choi, K., Robinson, C.D., Patten, C.A., Fagan, P., Okuyemi, K.S., Nahvi, S., Health Disparities Network (2018). Impact of SRNT Health Disparities Network’s scholarship on professional development of its recipients. Nicotine & Tobacco Research,  Nov 23. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty253

Guy, M.C., Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T.A., Cassel, K.D., Sakuma, K.K., Trinidad, D.R., Palafox, S., Halquist, M., Eissenberg, T., Bodnar-Deren, S., Fagan, P. (2019). How much nicotine is there in your electronic cigarette flavored liquid? Tobacco Regulatory Science, 5(1): 15-26 (12).

Maloney, S.F., Soule. E.K., Palafox. S., McFadden. K., Guy. M.C., Eissenberg. T., Fagan P. (2018). A longitudinal analysis of electronic cigarette forum participation.  Addictive Behaviors, 91:75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.006.

Apopa, P., Alley, L., Penney, R., Arnaoutakis, K., Steliga, M., Jeffus, S., Bircan, E., Gopalan, B., Jin, L., Patumcharoenpol, P., Jenjaroenpun, P., Wongsurawat, T., Shah, N., Boysen, G., Ussery, D., Nookaew, I., Fagan, P., Bebek, G., Orloff, M. (2018). PARP1 is up-regulated in non-small cell lung cancer tissues in the presence of the cyanobacterial toxin microcystin. Frontiers Microbiology, 9:1757. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01757.

Guy, M.C., Helt, J., Palafox, S., Green, K., Soule, E.K., Maloney, S.F., Eissenberg, T., Fagan, P. (2018). Orthodox and unorthodox uses of electronic cigarettes: A surveillance of YouTube video content Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Jun 28. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty132.

Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T.A., Fagan, P., Unger, J.B., Stacy, A.W. (2018). E-cigarette advertising exposure, explicit and implicit harm perceptions, and e-cigarette use susceptibility among non-smoking young adults. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 21(1):127-131. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty030.

Soule, E.K., Maloney, S.F., Guy, M.C., Eissenberg, T., Fagan, P. (2017). User-identified electronic cigarette behavioral strategies and device characteristics for cigarette smoking reduction. Addictive Behaviors, 31(3):343-353.doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.12.010.

 Fagan, P., Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T.A, Guy, M.C., Moolchan, E.T., Cassel, K.D., Franke, A., Li, X., Pagano, I., Trinidad, D., Sakuma, K., Sterling, K., Jorgensen, D., Lynch, T., Kawamoto, C.T., Guy, M.C., Lagua, I., Hanes, S., Alexander, L., Clanton, M.S., Graham-Tutt, C. Eissenberg, T. Addictive Carcinogens Workgroup (2017). Sugar and aldehyde content in flavored electronic cigarette liquids. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(8): 985–992. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntx234.

Pokhrel, P., Fagan, P., Herzog, T.A., Laestadius, L., Buente, W., Kawamoto, C.T., Lee, H.R., Unger, J.B. (2017). Social media e-cigarette exposure and e-cigarette expectancies and use among young adults. Addictive Behaviors, 78:51-58. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.10.017.

Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T. Fagan, P., Unger, J. Schmid, S., Kawamoto, C. (2017). Comparison of measures of e-cigarette advertising exposure and receptivity. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 394:424-434.

Felicitas-Perkins, J., Sakuma, K., Blanco, L., Fagan, P., Perez-Stables, E.J., Bostean, G., Xie, B., Trinidad, D. (2017). Smoking consumption among Hispanic/Latino nationality groups and Whites, comparisons between California and the United States. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(9):1085-1094. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx191.

Fagan, P., Pokhrel, P., Herzog, T.A, Guy, M.C., Sakuma, K., Trinidad, D., Cassel, K., Jorgensen, D., Lynch, T., Felicitas-Perkins, J., Palafox, S., Hamamura, F., Maloney, S., Degree, K., Sterling, K., Clanton, M.S., Eissenberg, T., Addictive Carcinogens Workgroup (2017). Warning statements and safety practices among manufacturers and distributors of electronic cigarette liquids in the United States. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(8):970-976. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx101.

Sterling, K., Fryer, C., Pagano, I., Fagan, P. (2017). Misperceptions and uncertainty about flavored little cigars and cigarillos: identifying at risk cigarette smokers. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 3(supplement 1): 17-30.  org/10.18001/TRS.3.2(Suppl1).3

Soule, E., Maloney, S., Guy, M, Eissenberg, T. Fagan, P. (2017). User identified positive outcomes associated with electronic cigarette use: a concept mapping study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(3):343-353. doi: 10.1037/adb0000263.

Buchting, F.O., Emory, K., Scout, Yoosang, K., Fagan, P., Vera, L., Emery, S. (2017). Transgender tobacco use in the US: Current cigarette, cigar, and e-cigarette use in a national representative study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1):e1-e7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.11.022.