Change in tobacco use among 13-15 year olds between 1999 and 2008: findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey

Glob Health Promot. 2009 Sep;16(2 Suppl):38-90. doi: 10.1177/1757975909342192.


Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the world; yet little is known about the levels or patterns of youth tobacco use on a global basis. The purpose of this paper is to focus on change in youth tobacco use using data from 100 sites that have conducted repeat Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (GYTS). The GYTS is a school-based survey that collects data from students aged 13-15 years using a standardized methodology for constructing the sample frame, selecting schools and classes, and processing data. GYTS is conducted in school classes using self-administered anonymous data collection. The GYTS sample produces representative, independent, cross-sectional estimates for each sampling frame. Of the 100 sites surveyed, 61 reported no change over time in prevalence of cigarette smoking, likewise in 50 of the 97 sites with data on use of other tobacco products there was no change. However, 34 sites reported an increase in other tobacco use. This appears to be attributed to waterpipe, an emerging trend in tobacco use. Evidence was found supporting the idea that tobacco use among adolescent girls is likely increasing. The global tobacco control effort continues to face many challenges in reversing the tobacco epidemic. Few countries have implemented comprehensive tobacco control legislation laid out by the World Health Organization. The few countries that have adopted some of these proven policies can serve as examples in achieving positive results in curbing the tobacco epidemic.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Data Collection*
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*