Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)


Collection of data through surveys is an important component of surveillance systems.

In 1998, WHO, the United States of America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) began development of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS).

The purpose of the GTSS is to enhance the capacity of countries to design, implement and evaluate their national comprehensive tobacco action plan and to monitor the key articles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The GTSS includes the collection of tobacco-specific data for both youths (13-15 years) and adults (15 years and older) through four surveys:

  • the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) focuses on youths aged 13-15 and collects information in schools
  • the Global School Professionals Survey (GSPS) surveys teachers and administrators from the same schools that participate in the GYTS
  • the Global Health Professions Students Survey (GHPSS) focuses on third-year students pursuing degrees in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacology
  • the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), a household survey, monitors tobacco use among adults

In addition, WHO conducts a variety of multi-risk factor surveys that contain sections on tobacco use and exposure. These include:

  • the Global School Health Survey (GSHS)
  • the WHO STEPwise Approach to Chronic Disease Risk Factor Surveillance (WHO STEPS)



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