Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Facts from the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic

Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies


  • Surveillance, monitoring and evaluation form the cornerstone of well-informed tobacco control policy development. A number of articles in the WHO FCTC require data collection, but Article 20 (Research, surveillance and exchange of information) and Article 21 (Reporting and exchange of information) elaborate the broad surveillance requirements that are the foundation for implementation of monitoring.
  • Surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems must use standardized and scientifically valid data collection and analysis practices. Population surveys using a representative, randomly selected sample of sufficiently large size can provide the needed estimates, and can be conducted on tobacco use alone or combined with surveys of other priority health issues of interest to a country’s health ministry. Such surveys should be repeated at regular intervals using the same questions, sampling, data analysis and reporting techniques.
  • Comparable data across different survey periods are required to accurately monitor and evaluate the impact of tobacco control interventions over time. Standardized questions about tobacco use can be embedded in existing population-based surveys or censuses.

Key finding:

  • Only about one-third of countries have recent, representative and periodically repeated data from monitoring systems.