Study Offers Insights into Youth Cigarette Smoking in 45 Countries

InfographicOn September 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published a study on current cigarette smoking, access and purchasing behavior among students aged 13–15 years old. The study is unique in that it presents results from 45 countries, covering all six World Health Organization (WHO) regions.

The research, conducted using data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), found that across all 45 countries, the median cigarette smoking prevalence among students was 6.8 percent. While cigarette access and modes of purchase vary across countries and regions, the study also found that in approximately half the countries, more than 50 percent of students reported purchasing cigarettes from a retail outlet.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the majority of adult smokers initiate smoking before the age of 18. In addition, individuals who start smoking during adolescence are more likely to continue smoking into adulthood and are less likely to quit smoking than those who initiate smoking later in life. The results from the study can help inform global- and national-level tobacco prevention and control interventions that restrict youth access to cigarettes, reduce youth initiation and ultimately decrease overall tobacco use.

GYTS is a nationally representative school-based survey of students aged 13–15 years old. The survey was initiated in 1999 and has since achieved broad global coverage. The CDC Foundation is proud to partner with CDC and the WHO Regional Office for Africa to implement GYTS in select sub-Saharan African countries.

Rachna Chandora, MPH, is associate vice president for the noninfectious disease programs for the CDC Foundation.