Reducing Tobacco Use


Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide. Currently, approximately 6 million people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, if urgent action is not taken, the annual death toll from tobacco use could rise to more than 8 million by 2030. 


  • Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
  • Tobacco use increases the risk of disability and death from many diseases, including multiple types of cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.
  • Tobacco companies are increasingly targeting low- and middle-income countries.
  • Thousands of young people start smoking cigarettes every day.
  • Second-hand smoke also has serious and often fatal health consequences.


Tobacco ControlEnhance tobacco data collection

As part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, with grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies the CDC Foundation is helping experts at CDC and WHO implement the following surveys:

  • Global Adult Tobacco Survey 
  • Global Youth Tobacco Survey 
  • Tobacco Questions for Surveys 

These surveys monitor tobacco use and the effectiveness of tobacco control measures. 

Inform programs and policies

To date, the GATS survey has been completed in 28 countries, representing 3.6 billion adults and 68 percent of the world’s smokers. Countries use data from the surveys to direct resources to the most effective programs and policies to reduce tobacco use. 



The CDC Foundation’s work to support countries in implementing the Global Adult Tobacco Survey has ensured that the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is based on gold-standard data. And, as we know from experience, what gets measured gets changed.

Michael Bloomberg
Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies
and former New York City Mayor


1 billion smokers worldwide—about 1/7 of the world’s population

Nearly 80% of smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries

6 million deaths each year due to tobacco-related illness