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Addict Behav. 2018 Dec;87:162-168. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.07.012. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

The impact and relevance of tobacco control research in low-and middle-income countries globally and to the US.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology and School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L G1 Canada, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:
Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 915 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208, United States; Center for Population Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Mexico. Electronic address:
Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 2213 McElderry Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Epidemiology, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8h Street, AHC5 505, Miami, FL 33199, United States. Electronic address:
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55454, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Economic and Health Policy Research, American Cancer Society, 250 Williams St, Atlanta, GA, 30303, United States. Electronic address:
Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, Sánchez de Bustamante 27, C1173AAA, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Electronic address:
Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 South Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MS 63110, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, American University of Beirut, PO, Box 11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon. Electronic address:
Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, 2004 Mowry Rd, Gainesville, FL 32610, United States. Electronic address:
Tobacco Control Research Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, United States. Electronic address:


International and cross-cultural research is critical for understanding multilevel influences on health, health behaviors, and disease. A particularly relevant area of need for such research is tobacco control. The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats globally, killing over 7 million people a year. Research critical to addressing this public health problem has leveraged variability in tobacco use, history, product market, and policies across different countries, settings, and populations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the tobacco burden is increasing. These efforts are needed in order to advance the science and inform practice and policy in various settings, including the US. Several funding agencies provide support for international research focused on tobacco control in LMICs because of the importance and implications of such research. This paper provides some concrete examples of how such research has advanced our knowledge-base and informed practice and policy globally, particularly in high-income countries including the US. Some prominent themes emphasized in this manuscript include: the development of knowledge regarding the diverse tobacco products on the market; better understanding of tobacco use and its impact among different populations; generating knowledge about the impacts including unintended consequences of tobacco control policy interventions; and better understanding tobacco industry strategies and informing advocacy efforts. In summary, international tobacco control research, particularly in LMICs, is critical in effectively and efficiently building the evidence base to advance tobacco control research, policy, and practice globally, including the US, with the ultimate goal of curbing the tobacco epidemic.


Global tobacco; LMICs; Policy; Research capacity-building; Tobacco control

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