CDC Foundation and Partners Release Statistics on Global Adult Tobacco Use Covering 60 Percent of World's Population

ATLANTA — Tobacco use represents the leading cause of death and disease in the world. Today, approximately 1.3 billion people use tobacco products and 6 million deaths each year can be attributed to tobacco use. Low- and middle-income countries bear much of the brunt of the tobacco use epidemic. To inform tobacco use research and policy formulation, the CDC Foundation along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Lung Foundation today released The GATS Atlas, which presents tobacco use statistics drawn from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).

The GATS Atlas illustrates the many dimensions of tobacco use and control interventions and is an invaluable resource,” said Samira Asma, D.D.S., M.P.H., chief of the Global Noncommunicable Disease Unit in the Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health at CDC. “The Atlas allows us to rigorously quantify the impact of these interventions and accelerate the implementation of the MPOWER measures to achieve the tobacco control and non-communicable disease targets."

The GATS Atlas highlights findings from 22 GATS countries in a user-friendly, visual format and incorporates data covering nearly 60 percent of the world’s population. The Atlas presents globally comparable data for more than 3 billion adults. Data presented in The GATS Atlas includes information on monitoring and use of tobacco, efforts to reduce secondhand smoke prevalence, tobacco price and tax information, highlights of regional and country specific tobacco use trends from low- and middle-income countries and a section that tracks progress to reduce tobacco use. In the 22 countries examined in the atlas, 688 million people smoke tobacco and the average age of initiation is under 20 years.

GATS is a nationally representative household survey of adults aged 15 years and older that systematically monitors adult tobacco use and tracks key tobacco control indicators. The survey uses a standardized methodology across all countries to generate comparable data within and across countries. GATS is intended to enhance a country's capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control interventions.

GATS implementation is supported in part by the CDC Foundation through grants provided by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GATS Atlas serves as a resource for public health professionals, researchers, decision makers and advocates in their efforts to advance tobacco control.

“To complete the GATS surveys and to publish The GATS Atlas, we greatly appreciate the support from and close collaboration with the GATS Collaborative Group, Ministries of Health and implementing agencies in the countries where surveys have been completed, WHO, and CDC,” said Brandon Talley, M.P.H., associate vice president for Programs, Tobacco Control at the CDC Foundation. “We also thank Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their support to continue this vital work to monitor tobacco use and key tobacco control measures trends around the world.”