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 25% of global cancer deaths and about 70% of global lung cancer deaths. WHO estimates that 20.2% of the world’s population aged ≥ 15 years were current smokers in 2015, and the prevalence of tobacco smoking has decreased steadily since the beginning of the twenty-first century. However, the burden of tobacco use is increasingly borne by low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where over 80% of the world’s tobacco users reside.

Driven by the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) exit disclaimer, many countries are 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. 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 also yields important insights for understanding tobacco use behaviors and the effectiveness of tobacco control interventions in the US.

News and Highlights

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

Since 2000, NCI has supported tobacco control research grants in more than 50 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). 

Selected Active NCI Grants Focused on International Tobacco Control

PI Name Organization Name Project Title Project Number
Dr. Carla Berg, Ph.D. George Washington University Assessing IQOS Marketing Influences and Consumer Behavior in Israel: Implications for the US


Dr. Kenneth Michael Cummings, Ph.D. Medical University of South Carolina Evaluating How Tobacco Control Policies are Shaping the Nicotine Delivery Market


Dr. Ritesh Mistry, Ph.D. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Tobacco Use and Tobacco Control Policy in India


Dr. James Thrasher, Ph.D. University of South Carolina at Columbia Evaluation of Cigarette Package Inserts for Enhanced Communication with Smokers


Dr. Seth Himelhoch University of Maryland at Baltimore Optimizing Smoking Cessation Interventions for PLWH in Nairobi, Kenya


Dr. Lisa Quintiliani Boston Medical Center Quit for Life (QFL): Smoking Cessation Among Chinese Smokers Living with HIV



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.

International Tobacco Notices of Funding Opportunities Open to Foreign Institutions

Title Announcement # Expiration Date Contact
Tobacco Regulatory Science

View Active BRP Grants

RFA-OD-21-002 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

RFA-OD-21-004 (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

RFA-OD-21-003 (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

February 15, 2023

March 9, 2023

March 9, 2023

Rachel Grana Mayne


Integrative Research on Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction

PAR-20-035 (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Optional)

November 8, 2022

Annette Kaufman


Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Dissemination and Implementation Science for Cancer Prevention and Control in Low Resource Environments

PAR-19-274 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-19-275 (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)
PAR-19-276 (R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

May 8, 2022

Mark Parascandola


Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Alternative Nicotine and Tobacco Delivery Systems: Population, Clinical and Applied Prevention Mechanisms of Health Effects NOT-OD-21-137 May 8, 2024

Rachel Grana Mayne


Other funding opportunities for cancer research in international settings can be found on the NCI Center for Global Health webpage:

Archived International Tobacco Notices of Funding Opportunities Open to Foreign Institutions

Title Announcement # Expiration Date Contact
Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle-Income Countries

RFA-OD-19-022 (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)

January 8, 2020

Mark Parascandola


International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program (TOBAC)

Read the TOBAC Program Review

RFA-TW-16-003 (R01)

October 14, 2016


Mark Parascandola

240-276-6871 (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).

Institut National du Cancer (INCa)
NCI has longstanding collaborations in cancer research and cancer control planning with the Institut National du Cancer of France (INCa). NCI and INCa are considering ways to identify opportunities for improved collaboration and coordination of tobacco control research between NCI and INCa and to encourage connections between US and French tobacco control researchers.

International mHealth Initiatives
NCI scientists provided 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.

Fogarty International Center
The Fogarty International Center is dedicated to advancing the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by supporting and facilitating global health research conducted by U.S. and international investigators, building partnerships between health research institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and training the next generation of scientists to address global health needs.

Last Updated
June 22, 2023