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Media Statement

For Immediate Release: December 23, 2009
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

Statement Regarding First Release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey Results by Bangladesh

Bangladesh this week 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 Bangladesh can be found at

Highlights from the GATS Bangladesh survey are as follows:

  • 44.7% of men, 1.5% of women, and 23.0% overall (21.9 million adults) currently smoke tobacco.  In the overall population, 14.2% are current cigarette smokers and 11.2% are current bidi smokers.
  • 26.4% of men, 27.9% of women, and 27.2% overall (25.9 million adults) currently use smokeless tobacco.
  • 11.5 million adults (63.0% of adults) are exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace.
  • 38.4% of adults have noticed cigarette marketing in stores where cigarettes are sold; 40.5% of adults noticed anti-cigarette smoking information on the television or radio.
  • 52.9% of smokers and 47.9% of smokeless users were advised to quit by a health care provider in the past 12 months.

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 technical assistance package that requires monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco smoking; 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 Bangladesh participated in the first round of GATS: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam.  Results from GATS will help Bangladesh and the other participating countries that will soon be releasing results. Likewise, results will help countries 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 Bangladesh, the GATS effort is led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and is conducted in partnership with WHO (Southeast Asia Regional Office, Bangladesh Country Office), CDC, CDC Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and RTI International.


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