Monitoring the tobacco use epidemic III: The host: data sources and methodological challenges

Prev Med. 2009 Jan;48(1 Suppl):S16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.09.008. Epub 2008 Sep 25.


Objective: This Host paper (III of V) reviews key surveillance and evaluation systems that monitor the characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of tobacco users that are crucial for tobacco control efforts.

Methods: We summarize and expand on the recommendations from the Host Working Group of the National Tobacco Monitoring, Research and Evaluation Workshop. We also discuss research challenges and make additional recommendations for improving tobacco control surveillance and evaluation.

Results: We reviewed 10 major US surveys that collect data on tobacco use. A great deal of data is collected but gaps exist. Data collection on cigars, smokeless tobacco, brand, menthols, and PREPs is sparse and infrequent. Also, a number of factors, including, but not limited to, changes in US population composition, declines in survey response rates, and increases in cell phone use present research challenges that may impact the ongoing utility of these systems.

Conclusions: Although the field of tobacco control research is an advanced area of public health, improvements in data systems are necessary to accurately evaluate progress and continue tobacco control gains. A coordinated surveillance and evaluation network would increase efficiency and improve the overall utility, quality and timeliness of the current data systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Bias
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Education
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology