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Roberta Freitas-Lemos, Ph.D.

Roberta Freitas-Lemos, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Roberta Freitas-Lemos, Ph.D.

“As the United States witnesses a decline in cigarette prevalence, we notice a concerning increase in tobacco-related disparities. Employing an experimental model to investigate these patterns and forecast the impact of policies on tobacco consumption, and consequently on cancer rates, becomes imperative."


Cancer-related Research on Eliminating Tobacco Use and Its Unequal Harms

How do factors like marketing and taxes affect the health of tobacco users based on income and education?

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and cigarette smoking causes three in 10 of all cancer deaths. Smoking also accounts for more than 30 percent of the difference in life expectancy among different socioeconomic groups. While cigarette smoking is generally in decline, disparities in tobacco use continue to grow. Dr. Freitas-Lemos investigates those differences among tobacco users, and the factors that influence them, such as tax policies, marketing, and tobacco flavoring. Her research aims to understand all of these factors to eliminate tobacco use and its uneven effect on the health of users, especially tobacco-related cancer.

  • Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Science

Freitas-Lemos R, Tomlinson DC, Yeh YH, Dwyer CL, Dai HD, Leventhal A, Tegge AN, Bickel WK. Can delay discounting predict vaccine hesitancy 4-years later? A study among US young adults. Prev Med Rep. 2023 Jun 11;35:102280. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102280. PMID: 37576839; PMCID: PMC10413160.

Freitas-Lemos R, Tegge AN, Athamneh LN, Yeh YH, Craft WH, Stein JS, Smith TT, Stepanov I, Rees VW, Cummings KM, O'Connor RJ, Shields PG, Hatsukami DK, Bickel WK. Is perception reality? Associations among "light" cigarettes and number of cigarettes smoked per day. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2023 Mar 1;244:109709. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109709. Epub 2023 Jan 13. PMID: 36642000; PMCID: PMC10081565.

Freitas-Lemos R, Stein JS, Tegge AN, Kaplan BA, Heckman BW, McNeill A, Cummings KM, Fong, GT, Bickel WK. Illegal Experimental Tobacco Marketplace II: effects of vaping product bans - findings from the 2020 International Tobacco Control Project. Tobacco control. 2022; 31(Suppl 3), s214–s222. doi 10.1136/tc-2022-057515

Freitas-Lemos R, Tegge AN, Craft WH, Tomlinson DC, Stein JS, Bickel WK. Understanding data quality: Instructional comprehension as a practical metric in crowdsourced investigations of behavioral economic cigarette demand. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Aug;30(4):415-423. doi: 10.1037/pha0000579. PMID: 35862135; PMCID: PMC9469988.

Freitas-Lemos R, Tegge AN, Athamneh LN, Tomlinson DC, Stein JS, Bickel WK. Narrative theory v: Narratives about penalties resulting from illegal tobacco purchases increase psychological distress. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2023 Feb;31(1):29-36. doi: 10.1037/pha0000551. Epub 2022 Feb 24. PMID: 35201829; PMCID: PMC9399307.

Freitas-Lemos R, Tegge AN, Stein JS, DeHart WB, Reisinger SA, Shields PG, Hatsukami DK, Bickel WK. The experimental tobacco marketplace: Effects of low-ventilated cigarette exposure. Addict Behav. 2022 Feb;125:107160. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107160. Epub 2021 Oct 19. PMID: 34710841; PMCID: PMC9320774.

Freitas-Lemos R, Keith DR, Tegge AN, Stein JS, Cummings KM, Bickel WK. Estimating the Impact of Tobacco Parity and Harm Reduction Tax Proposals Using the Experimental Tobacco Marketplace. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 23;18(15):7835. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18157835. PMID: 34360124; PMCID: PMC8345477.

Freitas-Lemos R, Stein JS, Tegge AN, Kaplan BA, Heckman BW, Cummings KM, Bickel WK. The Illegal Experimental Tobacco Marketplace I: Effects of Vaping Product Bans. Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 Aug 29;23(10):1744-1753. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntab088. PMID: 33955478; PMCID: PMC8403238.

Freitas-Lemos R, Stein JS, Pope DA, Brown J, Feinstein M, Stamborski KM, Tegge AN, Heckman BW, Bickel WK. E-liquid purchase as a function of workplace restriction in the experimental tobacco marketplace. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Jun;30(3):371-377. doi: 10.1037/pha0000444. Epub 2021 Feb 25. PMID: 33630645; PMCID: PMC8384943.

Freitas-Lemos R, Todorov JC. Promoting Intersectoral Action to Address Chronic Poverty and Social Exclusion. Behav. Soc. Iss. 2020; 29, 35–51 doi: 10.1007/s42822-020-00029-9 

Lemos RF, Favacho CRN, Favilla KC, Baia FB. Managing environmental policies: lessons from traditional communities. Behavior and Social Issues. 2019; 1-29. doi: 10.1007/s42822-019-00022-x Vasconcelos LA, Lemos RF. From the theoretical system of B.F. Skinner to metacontingency: observation, experimentation and interpretation. Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis. 2018; 14(1), 79-90.

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

  • Research Assistant Professor
  • Research Scientist
  • Postdoctoral Associate

Ministry of Social Development, D.F. (Brazil)

  • Advisor at the Vice-minister office
  • Member of the Federal Subcommittee for Interiorization as part of the Brazilian strategy on Emergency Assistance to Venezuelan Refugees
  • Program Manager at the Executive Secretariat of the National Council for Traditional People and Communities
  • Coordinator at the Committee on Women’s and Gender Equality Policies
  • Parliamentary Advisor
  • Social Policy Analyst

Secretariat for Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic, D.F. (Brazil, Program Manager for the Protection of Children and Adolescents under Death Threat

União Educacional do Norte and Faculdade da Amazônia Ocidental, Acre (Brazil), Lecturer, Psychology Department

State Secretariat for Social Development, Acre (Brazil), Sector Manager, Socio-educational Measures for Young Offenders

Center for Defense of Child and Adolescent's Rights, São Paulo (Brazil), Psychologist and Coordinator

  • Ph.D., Behavioral Sciences, University of Brasíilia
  • Professional Degree in Public Management, Cândido Mendes University
  • Master's Degree, Experimental Psychology: Behavior Analysis, Pontifical Catholic University - São Paulo
  • B.A., Psychology, Pontifical Catholic University - São Paulo
  • B.A., Sports Sciences, University of São Paulo


  • College on Problems of Drug Dependence/Public Policy Committee
  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco/Policy Research Network/Tobacco Regulatory Science Working Group

Consultant: Virginia Commonwealth University - Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Ministry of Health in Brazil, UNDP/Ministry of Sports in Brazil

Editorial Board: Behavior and Social Issues

Journal Reviewer:

  • Tobacco Control
  • Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research
  • Appetite
  • Behavior and Social Issues
  • Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis
  • Revista Perspectivas
  • Revista Brasileira de Terapia Comportamental e Cognitiva 


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