Evolution of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS) 1998-2008

Glob Health Promot. 2009 Sep;16(2 Suppl):4-37. doi: 10.1177/1757975909342181.


Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Given that country-specific international data on tobacco use were limited or nonexistent, in 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) initiated the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS) to assist countries in establishing tobacco control surveillance and monitoring programs. GTSS includes collection of data through three school-based surveys: the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) for youth; the Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS), and the Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS) for adults; and one household survey: the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) for adults. The GTSS provides a globally implemented and consistent framework for conducting surveillance including standard sampling procedures, core questionnaire items, training in field procedures and analysis of data consistent across all GTSS countries. The GTSS also enhances the role of the nongovernmental sector by supporting participation of civil society agencies in surveillance, monitoring, and policy and program development. The synergy between countries passing tobacco control laws, regulations or decrees, ratifying and complying with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and conducting GTSS surveys offers a unique opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive tobacco control policy that can be helpful to each country document the development, growth, and collaboration in sustaining the GTSS. The report highlights countries' involvement in tobacco control measures and the establishment of comprehensive tobacco control programs worldwide. This report can assist countries in prioritizing and developing tobacco control programs, including surveillance, evaluation, and policy development.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Data Collection
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Program Development*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*