WHO Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

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The Tobacco Free Initiative (http://www.who.int/tobacco/) of the World Health Organization is part of the Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health cluster at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. TFI is divided into three separate units:

  • National Capacity Building, which helps countries to enhance their ability to resist the epidemic of tobacco and implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • Comprehensive Information Systems for Tobacco Control, whose responsibilities encompass surveillance of the global tobacco epidemic
  • Tobacco Control Economics, which advises countries on taxation as an instrument of tobacco control policy and other economic policies to control tobacco

TFI’s activities are based around four key products:

The International Futures System utilizes data from WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic and the WHO FCTC Health Warnings Database.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

To address the global burden of tobacco, the World Health Assembly in 2003 unanimously adopted the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) with the objective of protecting present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure. Ratified by 180 Parties as at March 2015, the WHO FCTC currently covers about 90% of the world's population. It is a legally binding treaty which commits Parties to the Convention to develop and implements a series of evidence-based tobacco control measures to regulate tobacco industry marketing activities and sales reach, reduce the demand for tobacco and provide agricultural alternatives for those involved in growing and producing tobacco. To assist countries to fulfill their WHO FCTC obligations, in 2008 WHO introduced a package of six evidence-based tobacco control demand reduction measures that are proven to reduce tobacco use. These measures known as the MPOWER package measures reflect one or more provisions of the WHO FCTC. MPOWER refers to M: Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; P: Protecting people from tobacco smoke; O: Offering help to quit tobacco use; W: Warning about the dangers of tobacco; E: Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and R: Raising taxes on tobacco.

WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic

Since 2008, 5 reports on the global pandemic have been published under the WHO TFI program. This report aggregates all the key product of the TFI. The report provides a snapshot of the MPOWER measures, with all country-specific data updated and aggregated to currently available data. In addition, the report provides a special focus on tobacco taxation and in-depth analyses of tobacco taxes in all WHO Member States, allowing for a more detailed understanding of progress and future challenges in this area.

Updates to Ifs

5 series were up for updates and only two were updated after extensive for data. The two series SI seem to have gone through a process that we are not aware of and the Tobacco control Score is not readily available. An email has been sent to WHO to enquire about this series. In the datadict, it is noted that it was supplied by Cecilia.






 Sources and definition for the smoking prevalence update:

Definition of series: For all the updated series the definition of the series is Age-adjusted statistics of tobacco smoking (any form of tobacco including cigarettes and cigars) among adults (both current and daily) for people 15 years and older.

Step 1: Searching for sources of data and data from the WHO TFI database (http://www.who.int/tobacco/) and finding the following data sources: WHO reports on the global tobacco epidemic which currently covers the years 2008, 2009,2011,2013 and 2015. Only 3 of the sources (2009,2013 and 2015)were relevant for the update and the 2008 and 2011 served to confirm that these reports were the sources of the historical data in IFS.

Source 1: http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2015/en/, 2013table_10_1_comparable_prevalence_estimates_for_tobacco_smoking_2013.xls. data are taken from the Current Tobacco Smoking tab according to the definition of smoking all tobacco products.

Source 2: http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2013/full_dataset/en/ : appendix_x_table_10_1_xls. under Global tab.

Source 3: http://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/2009/en/: 2006 data was found in a . Appendix VII - Age-standardized prevalence estimates for smoking, 2006 under the Global7.1.0 tab.

Step 2The data were then compiled from these appendices. The sources allow for the download of CSV documents.

Step 3:The data were the blended with IFS data which contained 2008 and 2009(2008 and 2013 WHO reports)data for both series. 2006 data did not previously appear in IFs and was discovered in the 2009 report: WHO REPORT ON THE GLOBAL TOBACCO EPIDEMIC, 2009: Implementing smoke-free environments bringing the year coverage of both series from 2 to 5 adding 2006,2011 and 2013.

Country Concordance: TFI is a part of the WHO and the update utilized the WHO Countries concordance. 

Coverage: Data available in the series cover 161 countries. Due to the inconsistency in the self-reported survey methods, the updated for 2006, 2011 and 2013 are not equal in coverage: 124 countries were covered in 2013


Two series out of five were updated and efforts to contact WHO are underway for the remaining three series. Various sources were investigated for Tobacco control scoring and a decision will be made in the future.  Jose has advised us on two methods for the updating of the remaining series.

Possible sources of Smoking TCS: www.europeancancerleagues.org/.../TobaccoControl/TCS_2013_in_Europe_13-03-1.