International Research on Tobacco Use

The global health and economic burden of tobacco use is enormous and is increasingly borne by low- and middle-income countries.” (Major Conclusion #1, Monograph 21)

The Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB) supports and conducts international tobacco control research on a variety of topics, such as understanding the use and characteristics of non-cigarette tobacco products, evaluating low-cost tobacco cessation interventions, and assessing the impact of tobacco control policies in distinct environments. TCRB also collaborates with a range of partners in building the evidence base needed to support global tobacco control and prevention.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer mortality worldwide, causing more than 20% of global cancer deaths and about 70% of global lung cancer deaths. Overall, an estimated 35% of men and 6% of women smoke tobacco products, though these figures vary widely across different parts of the world. While cigarette consumption has been decreasing steadily among high- income countries, it is increasing or remaining constant among low- and middle-income countries.

Driven by the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) exit disclaimer, many countries are now adopting new and innovative tobacco control policies. However, these changes are being introduced in different ways and on different timelines, creating a large-scale “natural experiment” with unique opportunities for studying the impact of tobacco control interventions across different environments. Additionally, the global tobacco control environment is changing rapidly because of new technology and mass media channels, the introduction of new tobacco products, and economic and policy developments. While a large body of tobacco control research has been generated in high-income countries, this work is only partly applicable to the evolving social, economic, and cultural climate of many LMICs. Expanding tobacco control research and research capacity in LMICs is crucial to reducing tobacco use and cancer rates worldwide. Furthermore, research conducted in countries around the world can yield important insights for understanding tobacco use behaviors and the effectiveness of tobacco control interventions in the US.

World map with over 40 countries highlighted in blue. NCI has supported tobacco control research grants in more than 40 countries around the world.

NCI has supported tobacco control research grants in more than 40 countries around the world. Grants are awarded either to U.S. institutions collaborating with foreign partners or directly to a foreign institution.

Currently active international tobacco control grants can be found in the international portfolio of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS).

The following is a selected list of tobacco-related funding announcements open to foreign institutions. A complete list of current NCI Behavioral Research Program funding announcements can be found here.

Note: It is strongly recommended to speak with the Program Contact listed on the announcement to determine eligibility.

Title Announcement # Expiration Date Contact
Tobacco Regulatory Science

View Active BRP Grants
RFA-OD-19-028 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) February 14, 2021 Rachel Grana Mayne

Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Webinar on funding for research on this topic

PAR-18-023 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-18-022 (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
January 8, 2020 Mark Parascandola
Integrative Research on Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction PAR-18-084 (R21/R33 Clinical Trial Optional) January 8, 2020 Michele Bloch

Trans-NIH International Grants in Tobacco Control

The Fogarty International Center’s (FIC) International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program (TOBAC) supports transdisciplinary research to address the global tobacco epidemic and reduce the global burden of morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use. The program also works to strengthen the research bases of the U.S. and of foreign institutions, especially those in low- and middle-income countries. NCI has co-sponsored TOBAC since its inception over a decade ago and continues to provide co-funding support for grants under this initiative, along with the FIC and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A list of grants currently funded under this initiative can be found on the FIC webpage.

International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program Review
This report analyzes the first 10 years of the initiative’s program implementation and identifies near-term and long-term outputs, outcomes, and impacts.

Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Program

Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) exit disclaimer is a competitive grants program that invites scientists in developing countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on topics of importance to USAID and conducted in partnership with U.S. Government-funded partners. NCI participated in PEER Health Cycle 2 by supporting three awards with a focus on tobacco smoke exposure.

Location Project Title Primary Institution Years Awarded
Indonesia Impact of reduced in-home secondhand smoke exposure on low birthweight prevalence and neonate health exit disclaimer Gadjah Mada University 2014–2017
Indonesia Effects of air pollution in early life on infant and maternal health exit disclaimer University of Indonesia 2014–2017
Philippines Effect of a smoking cessation intervention program for families of children diagnosed with TB exit disclaimer Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association 2014–2017 (NCI)
The Initiative offers free, evidence-based smoking cessation information and on-demand support to smokers who want to quit through web, social media, text-messaging programs and smartphone apps. The website Smokefree Español ( is a Spanish-language resource for Hispanic Americans who want to quit smoking.

NCI Center for Global Health
NCI established the Center for Global Health (CGH) in 2011 to help reduce the global burden of cancer by supporting cancer control capacity-building and planning, as well as cancer research and research networks in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet) exit disclaimer
TobLabNet is a global network of government, academic, and independent laboratories established by the World Health Organization to strengthen national and regional capacity for researching and testing the contents and emissions of tobacco products. NCI researchers have participated in TobLabNet activities since its inception in 2005.

WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) exit disclaimer
TobReg is a study group established by the World Health Organization to conduct research and give WHO Member States scientifically sound recommendations on regulating the design and manufacture of tobacco products. NCI staff members participate in TobReg as committee members and subject experts.

International mHealth Initiatives
NCI scientists provide technical assistance to the World Health Organization’s mHealth initiatives (BeHe@lthy, Be Mobile exit disclaimer)  and in-country partners, including contributing to guidance documents for SMS-based text messaging interventions for tobacco cessation. Pilot studies have been undertaken in China, Egypt, Uganda, Costa Rica, India, and the Philippines, among others. NCI staff also serve on the Leadership Committee of the Asian Pacific Quitline Network (APQN) and provide technical assistance and clinical and evaluation expertise for cessation quitlines and mHealth interventions.

A Sociological Approach to Addressing Tobacco-Related Health Disparities
National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 22 (2017).
Examines the current evidence surrounding tobacco-related health disparities (TRHD) across the tobacco use continuum—initiation, secondhand smoke exposure, current use, frequency and intensity, cessation, relapse, morbidity, and mortality—and the implications for future research and implementation of effective strategies. Slides and fact sheets are available.


The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control
National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 21 (2016).
A collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization, this examines the current research and evidence base surrounding the economics of tobacco control—including tobacco use, tobacco growing, manufacturing and trade, tobacco product taxes and prices, and tobacco control policies and other interventions to reduce tobacco use and its consequences. Slides, fact sheet and translations are available.


The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use
National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 19 (2008).
Provides a critical, scientific review and synthesis of the current evidence regarding the power of the media, both to encourage and to discourage tobacco use. It is the most current and comprehensive summary of the scientific literature on media communication in tobacco promotion and tobacco control. Translations are available, as well as slides and fact sheets.

Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective cover

Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective
National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014).
Provides a snapshot of current knowledge and data sources on smokeless tobacco (ST) use, characteristics of products, and related policy efforts. Smokeless tobacco product fact sheets are also available.


WHO Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Tobacco Use and Second-Hand Smoke Exposure in Pregnancy exit disclaimer
World Health Organization (2013).
Provides guidelines to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure in pregnant women through evidence-based recommendations to health-care providers and other related service providers. Translations are available.

Last Updated
September 24, 2020