The new NICOTINE AND CANNABIS POLICY CENTER (NCPC) at UC Merced is the result of a $3.8 million grant from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), which began in August 2018. Dr. Anna Song, Associate Professor of Psychology and Public Health, is the Principal Investigator and Director of the NCPC. The new NCPC conducts research that enhances our understanding of tobacco & cannabis use, prevention and cessation, the social, economic and policy-related aspects of tobacco and cannabis use, along with related diseases in central California. All research will be conducted across 11 counties within the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and in collaboration and partnership with the local communities (including organizations like Healthy House & AHA), with the aim of focusing on issues such as smoking bans, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping, and marijuana use. The residents of the SJV and surrounding mountains are much more likely to use tobacco and other drugs, and suffer from more tobacco- and drug-related illnesses than residents of other parts of the state. They have also been generally overlooked and underserved. Therefore, the NCPC will help evaluate how much SJV residents are aware of and support existing tobacco and cannabis control policies. The results will then be used to develop achievable policy recommendations that work towards reducing tobacco-related diseases and deaths in this rural region of California. The NCPC will also engage local youth and ethnicities/cultural groups, and train them to serve as advocates for tobacco and cannabis control, helping bringing the center’s findings to their peers and local policymakers. The NCPC represents an extensive range of collaborations spanning different Californian universities, research disciplines, and community organizations at the national, state and local level and is an amazing addition to the UC Merced Campus. For additional information, please visit: https://ncpc.ucmerced.edu/.