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Media Statement

CDC Statement: Regarding First Release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey Result by the Philippines

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2010
Contact: CDC Division of Media Relations, Phone: (404) 639-3286


On March 18, 2010, the Philippines released its first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) results.  Many countries conduct surveys to monitor adult tobacco use, but until recently, no one standard global survey for adults has consistently tracked tobacco use, exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, and tobacco control measures.  A fact sheet summarizing the results from the Philippines can be found at
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/global/gats/countries/wpr/fact_sheets/philippines/.

Highlights from the GATS Philippines survey are as follows:

  • Almost one-quarter of all Filipino adults smoke every day, including more than a third of males. And almost half of all Filipino men smoke on at least some days.
  • Filipinos are aware of the dangers of smoking: almost 94% know that smoking causes serious illness, many want to quit, and almost half tried to quit during the past year.
  • Even banning smoking on public transportation would be an improvement for the more than half of Filipino adults – representing almost 28 million people – that are currently exposed to secondhand smoke on public transportation.
  • Despite a strong law banning pro-tobacco advertising, more than 7 out of ten Filipino adults noticed some form of pro-tobacco advertising, and the majority of ads were noticed in stores.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the world and kills up to half of those who use it.  In the 20th century, the tobacco epidemic killed 100 million people worldwide; during the 21st century, it could kill one billion.  Containing this epidemic is one of the most important public health priorities of our time.

To effectively combat the tobacco epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends MPOWER, a set of six proven strategies: monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco.  Monitoring the tobacco epidemic is a key step in managing it. CDC oversees GATS, which is designed to produce national and sub-national estimates on tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and quit attempts among adults.  GATS also indirectly measures the impact of tobacco control and prevention initiatives.

Thirteen countries besides the Philippines participated in the first round of GATS: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Poland, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.  Results from GATS will assist the Philippines and the other participating countries that will soon be releasing results. Results will enable countries to translate data into action through improved policies and programs.

GATS is a scientifically representative household survey of all noninstitutionalized men and women aged 15 years and older using a standard and consistent protocol.  Survey data are collected electronically during in-person interviews. 

Funding for GATS is provided by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (partners include the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, CDC, CDC Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, WHO, and the World Lung Foundation). 

In the Philippines, GATS was coordinated by the Department of Health.  Partners include the National Statistics Office, the National Statistical Coordination Board and the National Institutes of Health in the Philippines, WHO Representative in the Philippines, WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, WHO Headquarters, CDC, CDC Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and RTI International.

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