Go to USC home page USC Logo Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School Home


Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina
800 Sumter St., Room 216
Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: 803-777-7096
Fax: 803-777-6290



Jim F. Thrasher, PhD, MA, MS
Associate Professor

Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School of Public Health
Discovery I Building, 534D
915 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: (803) 777-4862
Fax: (803) 777-6290
E-mail: thrasher@mailbox.sc.edu

Curriculum Vitae

PhD (2005) - Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
MS (2000) - Epidemiology, State University of New York, Buffalo
MA (1994) - Anthropology, State University of New York, Buffalo
BA (1990) - Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Cancer Prevention & Control
Health Policy
Mass Media & Health Communication
Social & Cultural Determinants of Health
Globalization & Global Health
Mixed Methods (i.e., combining qualitative and quantitative methods)
Measurement Development

My research aims to develop and maximize the effective dissemination of interventions that address smoking and unhealthy eating, behaviors that account for much of the preventable disease burden in the US and around the world. I primarily focus on media and policy interventions because of their potential to reach broad segments of the population and thereby have a significant public health impact. I am particularly interested in examining the consistency of policy and media effects across populations that differ in terms of sociocultural background and risk, including cross-country comparative research. The results from my research aim to provide the evidence base for innovating future global health interventions that work most effectively across diverse contexts and populations, especially populations that suffer health disparities.

Some of my current projects include:
  • A cohort study of adult smokers in 20 countries in order to determine the impact of tobacco control policies and the psychosocial mechanisms that explain policy impact;
  • Observational and experimental studies to assess different characteristics of cigarette package health warning labels that include imagery showing the consequences of smoking, with a particular focus on their impact among socially disadvantaged populations;
  • Development and evaluation of media campaigns designed to work in synergy with policy implementation, particularly smoke-free and cigarette pictorial health warning label policies.
  • Analyses of risk behaviors in popular entertainment media, the impact of media on adolescent risk behaviors, and development of policies to mitigate these effects.
  • Content analysis of news on tobacco control policy and obesity in Mexico and the US.
  • Development and dissemination of mobile health interventions to support smoking cessation.
  • Capacity building for tobacco control and obesity policy advocacy in Mexico


Building evidence for effective and sustainable cigarette warning label policy. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (R01 CA167067). Primary Investigator

Cinema smoking and youth smoking in Latin America. Fogarty International Center & National Cancer Institute (R01TW009274).

Tobacco packaging and labeling policies: Expanding the evidence on novel policies. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (P01 CA138389). Co-Investigator

Tobacco policy evaluation in low- and middle-income countries: The ITC Surveys - Data Management Core. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (P01 CA138389). Co-Investigator

Exploring current smokers’ interest in using smokeless tobacco products. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. (R01CA141609-01). Co-Investigator

Communications and coalition building across civil society to promote tobacco control policy in 12 Mexican cities. Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. Consultant

Design, implementation and evaluation of a national quitline registry to enhance smoking cessation in the United States. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (3U48DP001936-05S2). Primary Investigator

Childhood obesity prevention in South Carolina communities. United States Department of Agriculture. Co-Investigator

Evaluating the impact of mandatory nutrition information on menus. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (R01 CA169045). Co-Investigator

Addressing acquiescence: Reducing survey error to promote Latino health. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (R01 CA172283). Co-Investigator
Public health policy and advocacy
Measurement development
Contemporary Issues in Tobacco Control
Anthropology and Public Health
Research Methods


Thrasher JF, Sargent JD, Vargas R, Braun S, Barrientos-Guitierrez T, Sevigny EL, Billings DL, Arillo-Santillan E, Hardin J. Are movies with tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex, and violence rated for youth?: A comparison of rating systems in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. International Journal of Drug Policy. In press.

Thrasher JF, Kim SH, Rose I, Navarro A, Craft MK, Davis KJ, Biggers S. Media coverage around failed and successful tobacco tax initiatives: The South Carolina experience. American Journal of Health Promotion. In press.

Thrasher JF, Kim SH, Rose I, Craft MK, Biggers S. Media coverage of smoke-free policies after their innovation. Journal of Health Communication. In press.

Thrasher JF, Abad-Vivero EN, Sebrié EM, Barrientos-Gutierrez T, Boado M, Yong HH, Arillo-Santillán E, Bianco E. Tobacco smoke exposure in public places and workplaces after smoke-free policy implementation: A longitudinal analysis of smoker cohorts in Mexico and Uruguay. Health Policy & Planning. 28:789–798. 2013.

Szklo A, Thrasher JF, Pérez C, Figueiredo V, Fong GT, de Almeida ML. Understanding the relationship between socioeconomic status, smoking cessation services provided by the health system and smoking cessation behavior in Brazil. Cadernos Saúde Pública. 29(3):485-495. 2013.

Thrasher JF, Carpenter M, Andrews JO, Gray KM, Alberg AJ, Navarro A, Friedman DB, Cummings KM. Cigarette warning label policy alternatives and smoking-related health disparities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 43(6):590–600. 2012.

Thrasher JF, Murukutla N, Pérez-Hernández R, Alday J, Arillo-Santillán E, Cedillo C, Gutierrez JP. Linking mass media campaigns to pictorial warning labels on cigarette packages: A cross-sectional study to evaluate impacts among Mexican smokers. Tobacco Control. 22: e57-e65. 2013.

White CM, Hammond D, Thrasher JF, Fong GT. The potential impact of plain packaging of cigarette products among Brazilian young women: an experimental study. BMC Pubic Health. 12(1):737. 2012.

Thrasher JF, Arillo-Santillán E, Villalobos V, Pérez-Hernández R, Hammond D, Carter J, Sebrie E, Sansores R, Regalado-Piñeda J. Can pictorial warning labels on cigarette packages address smoking-related health disparities? Field experiments in Mexico to assess pictorial warning label content. Cancer Causes and Control. 23:69–80. 2012.

Thrasher JF, Pérez-Hernández R, Arillo-Santillán E, Barrientos-Gutierrez I. Hacia el consumo informado de tabaco en México: Efecto de las advertencias en población fumadora [Towards informed tobacco consumption in Mexico: Effects of pictorial warning labels among smokers]. Revista de Salud Pública de México. 54:242-253. 2012.

Thrasher JF, Rousu MC, Hammond D, Navarro A, Corrigan J. Estimating the impact of pictorial health warnings and “plain” cigarette packaging: Evidence from experimental auctions among adult smokers. Health Policy. 102:41-48. 2011.

Thrasher JF, Quah ACK, Dominck G, Borland R, Driezen P, Awang R, Omar M, Hosking W, Sirirassamee B, Boado M, Miller K. Using cognitive interviewing and behavioral coding to determine measurement equivalence across linguistic and cultural groups: An example from international tobacco survey research. Field Methods. 23(4): 439-460. 2011.

Thrasher JF, Villalobos VE, Barnoya J, Sansores R, O’Connor R. Consumption of single cigarettes and quitting behavior: A longitudinal analysis of Mexican smokers. BMC Public Health. 11:134. 2011.

Thrasher JF, Huang L, Pérez-Hernández R, Niederdeppe J, Arillo-Santillán E, Alday J. Evaluation of a social marketing campaign to support Mexico City’s comprehensive smoke-free law. American Journal of Public Health. 101(2): 328-335. 2011

Thrasher JF, Villalobos V, Szklo A, Fong G, Pérez C, Sebrié E, Boado M, Figueiredo V, Arillo-Santillán E, Bianco E. Assessing the impact of cigarette package warning labels: a cross-country comparison in Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico. Salud Pública de México. 52(sup 2): S206-215. 2010

Thrasher JF, Pérez-Hernández R, Swayamkapala K, Arillo-Santillán E, Bottai M. Policy support, norms, and secondhand smoke exposure before and after implementation of a comprehensive smoke-free policy in Mexico City. American Journal of Public Health. 100(9): 1079-1096. 2010.

Thrasher JF, Besley JC, González W. Perceived justice and popular support for public health laws: Citizens’ perceptions of comprehensive smoke-free legislation in Mexico City. Social Science & Medicine. 70: 787-93. 2010

Thrasher JF, Sargent JD, Huang L, Arillo-Santillán EJ, Dorantes-Alonso AC. Does exposure to smoking in films promote smoking in middle-income countries?: A longitudinal study among Mexican adolescents. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. 18:3444-3450. 2009.

Thrasher JF, Boado M, Sebrié EM, Bianco E. Smoke-free policies and the social acceptability of smoking in Uruguay and Mexico. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. 11(6): 591-599. 2009

Thrasher JF, Jackson C, Arillo-Santillan E, Sargent JD. Exposure to smoking in movies and adolescent smoking in Mexico. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 35(2): 95-102. 2008.

Thrasher JF, Reynales-Shigematsu LM, Baezconde-Garbanati L, Villalobos V, Téllez-Girón P, Arillo-Santillán E, Dorantes-Alonzo A, Valdés-Salgado R, Lazcano-Ponce EC. Promoting the effective translation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco control: A case study of challenges and opportunities for strategic communications in Mexico. Evaluation & the Health Professions. 31(2): 145-166. 2008.