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Nikki L. Nollen, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.

Nicole Nollen portrait
Professor, Population Health

Professional Background

Dr. Nicole Nollen is a Professor in the Department of Population Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control program within the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC).

Dr. Nollen received her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine before joining the faculty. Her career is focused on understanding social and behavioral determinants of health and health behaviors among vulnerable populations. Dr. Nollen has maintained a continuous stream of funding in this area since 2002.

Education and Training
  • PhD, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City
  • MA, Ball State Univ.
  • BS, Iowa State Univ.
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, K30 Research Fellowship, University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), Kansas City, KS



The long-term goal of Dr. Nollen’s research is to reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality for low income and racial/ethnic minority populations. Her specific research interests are in evaluating promising behavioral and pharmacotherapy treatments for nicotine addiction, as well as examining psychosocial and biological mechanisms underlying tobacco use and treatment outcomes.

Current projects include an ongoing NIH-funded electronic cigarette switching study to monitor changes in health outcomes among African American smokers who switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes (SC3 GM122628), a intervention study to examine disparities in quitting between African American and White smokers (Quit2Live) (R01DA031815), an ongoing PCORI-funded randomized trial that is the first treatment study for African American non-daily smokers (Quit2Live2) (AD-1310-08709), and a novel adaptive therapy randomized trial to examine if changing pharmacotherapy when it is not working leads to better treatment outcomes for African American smokers compared to continuing with a single pharmacotherapy throughout the duration of treatment (Quit2Live3) (DA-046576).

Findings from this work have resulting in over 70 publications that have made important contributions to the field. Our work has impacted clinical practice guidelines for treating light and non-daily smokers, highlighted the important role of nicotine metabolism phenotype and genotype on tobacco use and cessation in patterns African American smokers, informed the FDA on decisions regarding menthol cigarettes as a threat to public health, and provided some of the first data on electronic cigarettes as an effective harm reduction strategy for adult smokers who are not ready to quit smoking combustible cigarettes.

  • Pulvers, K, Nollen, N., L, Rice, M, Schmid, C., H, Qu, K, Benowitz, N., L, Ahluwalia, J., S. 2020. Effect of Pod e-Cigarettes vs Cigarettes on Carcinogen Exposure Among African American and Latinx Smokers: A Randomized Clinical Trial.. JAMA network open, 3 (11), e2026324
  • Nollen, N., L, Mayo, M., S, Cox, L., S, Benowitz, N., L, Tyndale, R., F, Ellerbeck, E., F, Scheuermann, T., S, Ahluwalia, J., S. 2019. Factors that Explain Differences in Abstinence between Black and White Smokers: A Prospective Intervention Study.. Journal of the National Cancer Institute
  • Nollen, N., L, Mayo, M., S, Saint Onge, J., M, Scheuermann, T., S, Cox, L., S, Chae, D, Leavens, E, Ahluwalia, J., S. 2021. The effect of area-level disadvantage and race on smoking abstinence in a clinical trial.. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology
  • Nollen, N., L, Cox, L., S, Mayo, M., S, Ellerbeck, E., F, Madhusudhana, S, Ahluwalia, J., S. 2018. A randomized clinical trial of counseling and nicotine replacement therapy for treatment of African American non-daily smokers: Design, accrual, and baseline characteristics.. Contemporary clinical trials, 70, 72-82
  • Arnold, M., J, Nollen, N., L, Mayo, M., S, Ahluwalia, J., S, Leavens, E., L, Zhang, G, Rice, M, Pulvers, K. 2021. Harm reduction associated with dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in Black and Latino smokers: Secondary analyses from a randomized controlled e-cigarette switching trial.. Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
  • Leavens ELS, Nollen, N., L, Ahluwalia, J., S, Mayo, M., S, Rice, M, Brett, E., I, Pulvers, K. 2021. Changes in dependence, withdrawal, and craving among adult smokers who switch to nicotine salt pod-based e-cigarettes.. Addiction (Abingdon, England)
  • Nollen, N., L, Ahluwalia, J., S, Sanderson Cox, L, Okuyemi, K, Lawrence, D, Samuels, L, Benowitz, N., L. 2021. Assessment of Racial Differences in Pharmacotherapy Efficacy for Smoking Cessation: Secondary Analysis of the EAGLES Randomized Clinical Trial.. JAMA network open, 4 (1), e2032053
  • Chenoweth, M., J, Cox, L., S, Nollen, N., L, Ahluwalia, J., S, Benowitz, N., L, Lerman, C, Knight, J, Tyndale, R., F. 2021. Analyses of nicotine metabolism biomarker genetics stratified by sex in African and European Americans.. Scientific reports, 11 (1), 19572
  • Pulvers, K, Rice, M, Ahluwalia, J., S, Arnold, M., J, Marez, C, Nollen, N., L. 2021. "It is the One Thing that has Worked": facilitators and barriers to switching to nicotine salt pod system e-cigarettes among African American and Latinx people who smoke: a content analysis.. Harm reduction journal, 18 (1), 98
  • Peng, A., R, Swardfager, W, Benowitz, N., L, Ahluwalia, J., S, Lerman, C, Nollen, N., L, Tyndale, R., F. 2020. Impact of early nausea on varenicline adherence and smoking cessation.. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 115 (1), 134-144