Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use

Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use Global Adult Tobacco Survey in MalaysiaTobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. Nearly six million people die each year due to tobacco related illnesses—a figure expected to rise to more than eight million a year by 2030. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 80 percent of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

Expanding CDC’s Global Tobacco Surveillance System

The Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), comprised of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), and Tobacco Questions for Surveys (TQS), provides globally standardized data to track adult and youth tobacco use prevalence and trends across the world. The CDC Foundation supports the work of CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other international partners in implementing select components of GTSS.

GATS, a nationally representative household survey of adults aged 15 years and older, is the global standard to systematically monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco control indicators. The survey is intended to generate comparable data within and across countries and enhances a country's capacity to design, implement, and evaluate tobacco control interventions. GATS surveys completed to date provide globally comparable data for more than 790 million adult smokers, which represents more than 68 percent of the world’s adult smoking population.

To promote global comparability of adult tobacco use data, TQS was developed to provide countries with a standard set of tobacco use questions for inclusion in ongoing national and sub-national surveys. TQS are a subset of GATS and are intended to harmonize international tobacco surveillance and monitoring activities across a variety of different surveillance systems.

GYTS, a school-based survey that collects data on students aged 13–15 years, is intended to enhance a country’s capacity to design, implement, and evaluate youth tobacco control and prevention programs.

“The CDC Foundation is one of the important partners in this initiative,” says Dr. Samira Asma, chief of CDC’s Global Tobacco Control Branch in the Office on Smoking and Health. “CDC develops the strategy, and the CDC Foundation helps us achieve it.”

In addition to funding, the CDC Foundation provides logistical and administrative support, including managing contracts and procurement, convening subject matter experts and partners, working with WHO and CDC to support survey implementation, and helping operationalize CDC’s vision for global tobacco surveillance.

Helping CDC Build tobacco Control Capacity

Building on the success of GTSS, the CDC Foundation received additional funding to help CDC use GTSS data to build research, epidemiology, and policy capacity in select sub-Saharan African and Asian countries. The CDC Foundation supports CDC in establishing tobacco control fellowships and implementing Data to Action workshops to build in-country tobacco control capacity. These programs are intended to use GTSS data to inform tobacco control policies and generate an evidence base for advancing tobacco control policies, programs, and research.

GTSS Funding Support

  • The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, with grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, supports GATS and TQS globally.
  • The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, with grants from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supports components of GATS, TQS, GYTS, and Data to Action in select sub-Saharan African or Asian countries.
  • Select countries have self-funded GTSS surveys or provided in-kind support.


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World Health Organization information from Fact Sheet N°339, May 2013.