Tobacco use remains one of the greatest challenges to global health and is accepted as a major contributor to the rise in cancer incidence and mortality in the past century. Despite substantial knowledge about the harms conferred by tobacco in its various forms, recent changes in tobacco product development, marketing, and usage have changed the landscape in which tobacco research is operating.

This month Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (CEBP) is dedicating an entire issue to aid researchers and policy makers navigating the complex and changing world of tobacco research. The special issue marks a milestone for CEBP and the AACR, as it is the first time an entire issue has been dedicated to a single topic area. This emphasis reflects the continuing importance of tobacco-related research and the commitment of CEBP and the AACR to publish articles on tobacco-related cancer etiology, cancer prevention and control, and the eradication of tobacco use.

This special issue on tobacco is comprised of two parts. First, we present a Focus section of invited review articles that represent the state of the art in tobacco research. As summarized in the accompanying editorial by Dr. Kenneth E. Warner, we highlight methodological issues related to tobacco research, including assessment of tobacco products and exposures, as well as strategies to reduce or eliminate tobacco use. These articles also provide guidance for both researchers and policy makers related to issues facing regulatory agencies. Second, we feature original research articles submitted in response to a call for tobacco- and smoking-related papers from the scientific community. Topics include secondhand smoke, nicotine withdrawal, cotinine levels, tobacco cessation interventions, cognitive susceptibility to smoking, the promotion of smoking imagery in movies, and the carcinogenic and addictive effects of herbal cigarettes. Through the common theme of tobacco use, these articles span the spectrum of CEBP content areas, including epidemiology, behavioral science, biomarkers, and prevention.

The generation of this landmark issue has required a great deal of effort on the part of many individuals. The CEBP staff has provided outstanding support. A particular note of thanks must be given to one of our Senior Editors, Dr. Peter G. Shields, whose coordinating efforts were invaluable. Finally, the AACR Task Force on Tobacco and Cancer has provided guidance and leadership in the tobacco and smoking arena. Together with this Task Force, CEBP and the AACR will continue to lead initiatives to “foster scientific and policy initiatives to reduce the incidence of disease and mortality due to tobacco use.”

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.