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Leading Facilities & World-Renowned Researchers

Battelle Public Health Center for Substance Use Research

For more than 50 years, public health agencies have counted on Battelle for objective, science-based answers to complex questions surrounding tobacco and nicotine use and exposure. Now we’re expanding on these capabilities to focus on related products including marijuana and opioids. 


The Battelle Public Health Center for Substance Use Research brings together the world’s best researchers, facilities and methods to help the public health community understand the range of tobacco, marijuana and opioid products available, how consumers use those substances and the risks associated with them. Our research focuses on some of today’s most critical—and complicated—clinical and behavioral questions, such as: 

  • What are the human health risks associated with different product types, exposure routes and dosages for tobacco, marijuana, opioids and other compounds? 
  • How do changes in user behavior or product characteristics impact exposure risks?
  • How do co-dependencies on tobacco, marijuana and opioids impact user behaviors and health risks? 

Battelle can provide trusted data to guide healthcare solutions.
Contact us today to learn more.
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Tobacco and Nicotine Products
Battelle has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading research facilities for tobacco and nicotine products. Our researchers provide product characterization, human exposure studies and behavioral studies for a wide variety of tobacco and nicotine products including cigars and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes, waterpipes, and other emerging tobacco and nicotine delivery products. We conduct human smoking studies using sophisticated smoking chambers that allow for discreet observation and precise measurement of smoking behavior in a comfortable and controlled environment. Learn more.

The landscape of marijuana use, both medicinally and recreationally, has expanded dramatically over the last decade, yet the benefits and long-term risks of marijuana are still largely unknown. Where can healthcare workers and policy makers go to find the most relevant research to answer their pressing questions? Battelle is building on deep experience with substance use research to extend its expertise to marijuana. We provide well-designed, well-controlled trials to study the health effects associated with marijuana use and how marijuana interacts with tobacco and other substances. Our researchers can perform large-scale national public health surveys that follow people who use marijuana over time to understand how often, how much and what forms of marijuana they use. Learn more.

The U.S. is currently facing an opioid abuse epidemic of unprecedented proportions. Battelle researchers are working to understand the scope and extend of the opioid problem, use patterns among opioid users, triggers for opioid abuse, the health risks and exposure effects for opioid users, and the efficacy of treatments and public health policies aimed at addressing opioid addiction. Our scientists bring unique experience in poly-drug use related to opioids and other substances of abuse, surveillance data to monitor trends in consumption and user groups, and individual-level characteristics that impact the pathway between initiation and problem use. Learn more


Evaluating Product Characteristics and Exposure Risks
Accurately characterize tobacco, nicotine, marijuana and opioids products and evaluate how their physical and chemical properties impact human exposure risks. 

  • Product Characterization: Our state-of-the-art laboratory includes organic and inorganic analytical instruments and innovative characterization technologies for measurement of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs/SVOCs), heavy metals, particulates and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. 
  • Smoking Topography Studies: We use a sophisticated puff analyzer to build a precise “puff profile” for each individual smoker of tobacco-related products. Smoking topography allows us to better measure how smoking behavior impacts exposure and how products influence puff behavior.
  • Human Exposure Studies: We use biomarkers in human breath, saliva and blood to measure the exposure effects of different products on the human body. Our smoking chamber provides a controlled environment for accurate measurement of exposure levels in both direct and secondhand smoke and aerosol exposure studies of tobacco products.
Connecting the Dots Between Substance Use Behavior, Exposure and Risk
Get a clear understanding of how smokers consume tobacco, marijuana and opioids, including combustible forms, and how substance use behavior is impacted by product design. Analyzing both pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics interactions, our experts can close the gap between product characteristics, user behavior and acute and chronic exposure to toxicants.

  • User Behavior: We conduct both survey and observational studies to understand how users actually consumer different kinds of tobacco, nicotine, marijuana and opioids and how product characteristics impact their behavior and choices. 
  • User Perception: We use sophisticated survey and observational methods to measure user perception for a variety of products and evaluate how perception influences user behavior. 
  • Dependence and Withdrawal: We study dependence and withdrawal behaviors and symptoms for different kinds of tobacco, marijuana and opioids to better understand how product characteristics influence addiction.


Our People: Our team includes nationally and internationally recognized experts in both clinical and behavioral research for tobacco, nicotine, opioids and marijuana. We bring together leading experts in behavioral science, analytical and physical chemistry, pharmacology, psychology, toxicology and related disciplines to answer complex questions.

Our Facilities: We conduct our research in state-of-the-art laboratories in Baltimore, MD and Columbus, OH. We have unique experimental chambers designed to safely test combustible products and rigorously assess environmental exposure. Our facilities house some of the most sophisticated analytical equipment in the world, including puff topography systems, laboratory-based smoking machine devices, and breath analyzers for highly accurate quantitative data collection. 

Our Methods: We are advancing tobacco, marijuana and opioid science with cutting-edge methods validated by exacting research. Our researchers are credited with the identification of new biomarkers of tobacco exposure and the development of new product characterization methodologies, aerosol measurement technologies, in vivo study methods and behavioral methodologies.