Tobacco Free initiative | Tobacco data and trends

Tobacco data and trends

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Tracking tobacco since 1999

Data and statistics

Together with our partners, we started tracking tobacco in 1999, and continue to do so, on a regular basis. Since, we have been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and the Canadian Public Health Association, to systematically monitor tobacco use and trends over time in tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and environmental influences. In our surveys, we use a common methodology and core questionnaire across countries, to allow us to measure trends and compare data over time.

Our surveys

At first, we started collecting data from youth, and expanded our surveillance to school personnel, health professional students and adults. At present, we have a complete surveillance system, known as the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), and it comprises 4 different surveys.

Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)

Started in 1999. GYTS focuses on youth aged 13–15 years and collects information in schools. It includes information on tobacco use (smoked and smokeless), knowledge and attitudes regarding tobacco, second-hand smoke exposure, pro- and anti-tobacco media and advertising exposure, desire for cessation, access and availability to obtain tobacco products, and having been taught in school about the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS)

The Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS)

Started in 2000. GSPS surveys teachers and administrators from the same schools that participate in the GYTS. It includes information on tobacco use (smoked and smokeless), knowledge and attitudes of school personnel toward tobacco, existence and effectiveness of tobacco control policies in schools, existence of training materials on tobacco prevention and the existence of curriculum on tobacco prevention and control interventions.

Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS)

The Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS)

Started in 2005. GHPSS focuses on third year students pursuing degrees in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacology. It includes information on demographics, prevalence of cigarette smoking and other tobacco use (smoked and smokeless), knowledge and attitudes about tobacco use, exposure to second-hand smoke, desire for smoking cessation and training received regarding patient counselling on smoking cessation techniques.

Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)

Started in 2007. GATS is a nationally representative household survey that monitors tobacco use among adults aged 15 years and older. It includes information on respondents’ background characteristics, tobacco use (smoked and smokeless), cessation, second-hand smoke, economics, media, knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards tobacco use.

Our goal

Through the Global Tobacco Surveillance System, we aim to enhance the capacity of countries to design, implement and evaluate their national comprehensive tobacco action plans and to monitor the key articles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which is the most powerful tool available to counter tobacco’s negative impacts. The WHO FCTC contains measures to reduce the demand for tobacco as well as others to reduce tobacco production, distribution, availability and supply.

Our products

We work with countries and support them in implementing several rounds of most of our surveys. A research coordinator, nominated by the ministry of health compiles all the survey information and develops fact sheets and/or country reports, which provide the results of the various rounds conducted. All survey information is technically reviewed by WHO and CDC. The content of the fact sheets and country reports has not otherwise been edited by WHO or CDC.

Certain country reports are only available in the official language of that country, while all fact sheets are available in English.