Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Michael Eriksen, Sc.D.

Second Advisor

Carrie Whitney, MPH


Background: Tobacco use either in the form of smoking or smokeless tobacco is typically initiated or established behaviorally for adult smokers before 18 years of age. Given that data from monitoring and surveillance systems drives every policy and program, accurate surveillance of tobacco consumption by adolescents is a major part of curbing tobacco addiction.

Methodology: The consistency and reliability of youth smoking prevalence data was assessed by investigating discrepancies within versions of the Global Youth Tobacco (GYTS) as well as between GYTS and the Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS). Sources of errors and biases were examined in order to determine the cause for discrepancies in results.

Results: Significant discrepancies were found within GYTS versions as well as between the survey results produced by GYTS and GSHS. Discrepancies within GYTS versions were determined to be due to quality control errors. Analyzed by gender, negligible variation was found between boys and girls. When comparing the total smoking prevalence estimates between GYTS and GSHS, four of the six WHO administrative regions (Africa, Americas, Eastern-Mediterranean, South-Eastern and Western- Pacific) were found to have significantly different estimates. The European region did not consist of any significantly different estimates. When comparing variance in total smoking prevalence estimates, GSHS results were found to be lower than GYTS estimates with the exception of the EMRO region. The EMRO region was further analyzed to explore gender variation within the region and boys were found to have 44.5% more significantly different estimates in comparison to girls.

Conclusion: Up-to-date, reliable and consistent surveillance and monitoring efforts are part and parcel to solving this tobacco epidemic and fighting wealthy and powerful tobacco companies.