Global Tobacco Control Updates

Findings on global youth smoking released, youth smokers want to quit
13 Jun 2017
Research Alert

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report analyzing Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) data from 61 countries across the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions. The article examined the prevalence of current tobacco smoking and desire to quit smoking among students aged 13–15 years for the years 2012 through 2015.

Key Findings

  • The median rate of current smoking among youth in the 61 countries included in the study was 10.7% (14.6% among boys and 7.5% among girls)
    • The current smoking rate ranged from 1.7% in Sri Lanka to 35.0% in Timor-Leste.
    • In 38 of the 61 countries, the smoking rate was significantly higher among boys than among girls.
  • In 40 of the 51 countries that collected data about the desire to quit smoking, more than 50% of youth smokers desired to quit.
    • The rate of students who desired to quit ranged from 32.1% in Uruguay to 90.2% in the Philippines.

Key Messages

  • Tobacco use by youth is a major public health problem around the world.
  • Governments must enact proven public health policies to prevent and stop youth tobacco use.
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) obligates Parties to enact and implement proven measures to reduce tobacco use, including tobacco tax increases, comprehensive bans on smoking in public places and on tobacco product advertising promotion, and sponsorship, and large pictorial health warning labels on tobacco products. The MPOWER package of evidence-based interventions can assist countries to fulfill this obligation.

Full Citation: Arrazola RA, Ahluwalia IB, Pun E, Garcia de Quevedo I, Babb S, Armour BS. Current Tobacco Smoking and Desire to Quit Smoking Among Students Aged 13–15 Years — Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 61 Countries, 2012–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:533–537.

A link to the full text [English only] can be found at:

Additional Resources:

To read more about the MPOWER measures [English, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish], visit

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is the principle agency of the Government of the United States for fighting disease and protecting public health.

If you have questions about the study or how you may use it in your advocacy efforts, please contact


cdc, gyts, smoking, youth