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Media Statement

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2010
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

Statement Regarding First Release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey Result by Uruguay

On February 9, 2010, Uruguay 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 Uruguay can be found at:

Highlights from the GATS Uruguay survey are as follows:

  • 25 percent of people age 15 years or older (30.7 percent of men and 19.8 percent of women) currently smoke tobacco
  • 16.5 percent of adults are exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace
  • Nearly 8 in 10 current smokers plan to quit or are thinking about quitting
  • 8 percent of smokers quit in the last 12 months
  • 44.6 percent of current smokers thought about quitting because of a warning label

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 tasks of our times.

To effectively combat the tobacco epidemic, the World Health Organization 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 the GATS, which is designed to produce national and sub-national estimates on tobacco use, exposure to second-hand smoke, and quit attempts among adults across countries, and to indirectly measure the impact of tobacco control and prevention initiatives.

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

GATS is a scientifically representative household survey of all non-institutionalized men and women age 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 and is conducted in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids , CDC Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Health Organization, and the World Lung Foundation.

In Uruguay, GATS was coordinated by the National Program for Tobacco Control of the Ministry of Public Health, implemented by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) with the assistance of the Latin American Center for Human Economics; the statistical analysis was done by the Department of Surveillance in Health and INE. The survey had the support of the country office of the Pan American Health Organization.


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