Alison Breland, Ph.D.

Dr. Alison Breland

Associate Research Professor
Health Psychology
100 W Franklin St, rm 230
(804) 628-2300

Associate Research Professor

Health Psychology
Ph.D. (2005), Virginia Commonwealth University

Co-Director, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products

Research Interests

I am an Associate Research Professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Department of Psychology and Center for the Study of Tobacco Products.  My research is primarily focused on tobacco/nicotine, including the evaluation of novel products (such as electronic cigarettes) among adult tobacco users. I am currently funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as Co-PI (with Dr. Thomas Eissenberg at VCU) on VCU’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, and as Project Director for Project 2 (“Using User Behavior Collected in the Clinical Laboratory to Test Hypotheses about Advanced-Generation ECIGs and Generate Population-Level Predictions Regarding Potential Regulatory Action“). The goal of Project 2 is are to use established clinical laboratory methods to examine, in independent studies each involving exclusive ECIG users and non-ECIG using smokers, the extent to which subjective effects, puff topography, liquid consumption and nicotine delivery are influenced by three potential regulatory actions. I am also a Co-PI (with Dr. Michelle Peace and others at VCU) on a National Institutes of Justice grant to study the effects of inhaling aerosolized ethanol in electronic cigarettes, and a Co-I (PI and PD = Robert Winn and Chanita Hughes-Halbert) on an NCI grant to generate novel empirical data that can be leveraged into precision strategies for lung cancer prevention. I was also recently a Co-Investigator on a NIDA grant (PI: Kristin Ashford) to study the impact of electronic cigarettes on perinatal immune responsiveness and birth outcomes.  Last, in addition to research, I am a Co-PI on a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, the goal of which is to build a statewide program of research on the causes and prevention of youth tobacco use.

Select Publications

Sawyer, A.N., Bono, R.S., Kaplan, B., Breland, A.B. (2022). Nicotine/tobacco use disparities among transgender and gender diverse adults: Findings from wave 4 PATH data. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 232, 109268. PMID: 35038608.
Eversole, A., Crabtree, M., Spindle, T.R., Baassiri, M., Eissenberg, T., Breland, A. (2021). E-cigarette solvent ratio and device power influence ambient air particulate matter. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 7(3), 177-183.
Maloney, S.F., Breland, A., Soule, E.K., Hiler, M., Ramôa, C. Lipato, T., Eissenberg, T. (2019). Abuse liability assessment of an electronic cigarette in combustible cigarette smokers. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 27(5), 443-454. PMID: 32041833.
Breland, A., McCubbin, A., Ashford, K. (2019). Electronic nicotine delivery systems and pregnancy: Recent research on perceptions, cessation, and toxicant delivery. Birth Defects Research, 111(17), 1258 – 1293. PMID: 31364280
Breland, A., Soule, E., Lopez, A., Ramoa, C., El-Hellani, A., Eissenberg, T.  (2017). Electronic cigarettes: What are they and what do they do? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: Addiction Reviews, 1394(1), 5-30.

Recent Courses

  • Tobacco Regulation in the 21st Century: The Role of Tobacco Regulation and Regulatory Science, graduate level

Recent Grants

Center for the Study of Tobacco Products. Co-Principal Investigator (with Thomas Eissenberg), 2018-2023, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).  2U54, DA036105, Total costs: $19,775,769.

Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects Research Coalition Core. Co-Principal Investigator (with J. Randy Koch), 2021-2024, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. Total costs: $440,528. 

Part II: Through the E-Cigarette Looking Glass: The Impact of Vaping Ethanol on DUI Investigations. Co-Principal Investigator (with Michelle Peace, Matthew Halquist, and Justin Poklis), 2020-2022, National Institute of Justice, Total costs: $1,240,355.


  • APA Prize for Interdisciplinary Team Research (as a team member of VCU’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products), 2018
  • Grace E. Harris Leadership Development Program, 2015

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