Head shot of Dr. Geoffrey Fong speakingContact information

Geoff Fong's research web page

Recipient: 2016 University of Waterloo, Arts Excellence in Research Award

Recipient: 2015 American Cancer Society, Luther L. Terry Award for “Outstanding Research Contribution”

Recipient: 2006, 2013, & 2015 University of Waterloo, “Outstanding Performance Award”

Recipient: 2007-2022 Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, “Senior Investigator Award”

Recipient: 2009 Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Top Canadian Achievement in Health Research”

Recipient: 2011 Canadian Institutes of Health Research, “Knowledge Translation Award”

Recipient: 2011-2016 Canadian Cancer Society, “Prevention Initiative Research Scientist Award”

Recipient: 2012 Statistical Society of Canada, “Lise Manchester Award”

Recipient: 2013 World Health Organization, “World No Tobacco Day Award”

Research interests

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death throughout the world, and is projected to kill one billion people in the 21st Century, most of whom live in low and middle-income countries. My research focuses on combining psychological theories and research methods with traditional epidemiological survey methods to evaluate the impact of tobacco control policies on entire populations of countries.

I am the Founder and Chief Principal Investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), which is the first-ever international cohort study of tobacco use. The ITC Project’s main objective is to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural population-level impact of key national level policies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first health treaty. The ITC Project is a collaborative effort with international health organizations and policymakers in 28 countries so far, inhabited by more than 50% of the world's population, 60% of the world's smokers, and 70% of the world's tobacco users across every continent in the world, except for Antarctica. In each country, the ITC Project is conducting prospective cohort surveys to assess the impact and identify the determinants of effective tobacco control policies in each of the following areas:

  • Health warning labels and package descriptors (including studies of the impact of pictorial warnings in Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Mauritius, Thailand, Malaysia, and EU countries, and more recently on the impact of plain packaging in Australia and the EU),
  • Smoke-free legislation (we conducted the first national evaluation of Ireland’s seminal comprehensive smoke-free law and those of many other countries),
  • Tobacco tax/price policies (in April 2014, we published a special supplement in the journal Tobacco Control on economic analyses across 15 ITC countries, and in July 2015 we published a follow-up supplement in Tobacco Control),
  • Communication and education (including population-level analyses of the impact of media campaigns in Malaysia, Mauritius, and Mexico),
  • Cessation (including studies of the effectiveness of stop-smoking medication across different countries and recent studies on the impact of electronic cigarettes on quitting tobacco),
  • Tobacco advertising and promotion (including studies of the impact of bans on product display and point-of-sale advertising),
  • Tobacco product regulation (including studies of cigarette design and additives and their relation to beliefs about harmfulness, and to smoking behaviour, measuring the level of heavy metals in tobacco smoke in different countries),
  • The evolving nicotine delivery market (i.e. vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) such as e-cigarettes in Canada, Australia, England, and the US).

In the past decade, the ITC Project has published over 400 journal articles and has presented findings in over 900 posters and presentations at scientific meetings. We have connections with health organizations and institutes (e.g., World Health Organization, Canadian Cancer Society, World Heart Federation, Cancer Research UK, US National Cancer Institute and national cancer institutes in Brazil, France, and South Korea) and governments with whom we disseminate ITC findings to promote stronger evidence-based action to reduce tobacco use. We are engaged in a global effort to find out what works and what doesn’t work (so well) in population-level efforts to address the number one preventable cause of death and disease, with a particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries.

I have also researched other areas of tobacco, including the impact of media depictions of smoking on explicit and implicit attitudes, and the measurement of tobacco smoke pollution in environments including casinos, outdoor patios, and cars. I have also conducted research in other domains of health behavior, including the effects of alcohol intoxication on risky health behaviors (e.g., risky sex), and on the creation, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral interventions (safer sex and abstinence) to reduce HIV/STD risk among inner-city adolescents in the United States. 

More information about our global health research can be found at the ITC Project website

Recent publications

  • Levy, D., Cummings, K.M., Villanti, A.C., Niaura, R., Abrams, D.B., Fong, G.T., & Borland, R. (2017). A framework for evaluating the public health impact of e-cigarettes and other vaporized nicotine products. Addiction, 112(1), 8-17.
  • Kaai, S.C., Chung-Hall, J., Sun, M.C., Burhoo, P., Moussa, L., Yan, M., Ramasawmy, D., Quah, A.C.K., & Fong, G.T. (2016). Predictors of quit intentions among adult smokers in Mauritius: Findings from the ITC Mauritius Survey. Tobacco Prevention & Cessation, 2(October), 69-77.
  • Gravely, S., Fong, G.T., Driezen, P., McNally, M., Thrasher, J.F., Thompson, M.E., Boado Martinez, M., Bianco, E., Borland, R., & Hammond, D. (2016). The impact of the 2009/2010 enhancement of cigarette health warning labels in Uruguay: Longitudinal findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Uruguay Survey. Tobacco Control, 25, 89-95.
  • Yong, H.H., Borland, R., Hammond, D., Thrasher, J.F., Cummings, K.M., & Fong, G.T. (2016). Smokers' reactions to the new larger health warning labels on plain cigarette packs in Australia: Findings from the ITC Australia Project. Tobacco Control, 25(2), 181-187.
  • Nagelhout, G.E., Willemsen, M.C., de Vries, H., Mons, U., Hitchman, S.C., Kunst, A.E., Guignard, R., Siahpush, M., Yong, H.H., van den Putte, B., Fong, G.T., & Thrasher, J.F. (2016). Educational differences in the impact of pictorial cigarette warning labels on smokers: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Europe Surveys. Tobacco Control, 25(3), 325-332.
  • Li, L., Fathelrahman, A., Borland, R., Omar, M., Fong, G.T., Quah, A.C.K., Sirirassamee, B., & Yong, H.H. (2016). Impact of graphic pack warnings on adult smokers' quitting activities: Findings from the ITC Southeast Asia Survey (2005-2014). Journal of Smoking Cessation, 11(2), 124-134.

Selected publications

  • Fong, G.T., Craig, L.V., Guignard, R., Nagelhout, G.E., Tait, M.K., Driezen, P., Kennedy, R.D., Boudreau, C., Wilquin, J.L., Deutsch, A., Beck, F. (2013). Evaluating the effectiveness of France’s indoor smoke-free law 1 year and 5 years after its implementation: Findings from the ITC France Survey. PLoS One, 8(6), e66692.
  • Arnott, D., Berteletti, F., Britton, J., Cardone, A., Clancy, L., Craig, L., Fong, G.T., Glantz, S.A., Joossens, L., Rudophie, M.T., Rutgers, M.R., Smith, S.C., Stam, H., West, R., Willemsen, M.C. (2012). Can the Dutch Government really be abandoning smokers to their fate? Lancet, 379(9811), 121-122.
  • Fong, G.T., Cummings, K.M., Borland, R., Hastings, G., Hyland, A., Giovino, G.A., Hammond, D., Thompson, M.E. (2006). The conceptual framework of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project. Tobacco Control, 15(Suppl III), iii3-iii11.
  • Fong, G.T., Hyland, A., Borland, R., Hammond, D., Hastings, G., McNeill, A., Anderson, S., Cummings, K.M., Allwright, S., Mulcahy, M., Howell, F., Clancy, L., Thompson, M.E., Connolly, G., Driezen, P. (2006). Changes in exposure to tobacco smoke pollution and support for smoke-free public places following the implementation of comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation in the Republic of Ireland: Findings from the ITC Ireland/UK Survey. Tobacco Control, 15(Suppl III), iii51-iii58.
  • Fong, G.T., Hammond, D., Laux, F.L., Zanna, M.P., Cummings, K.M., Borland, R., Ross, H. (2004). The near-universal experience of regret among smokers in four countries: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 6(Suppl 3), S341-S351.
  • Jemmott, J. B. III, Jemmott, L. S., & Fong, G.T. (1998). Abstinence and safer sex HIV risk-reduction interventions for African American adolescents: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279, 1529-1536.
  • MacDonald, T. K., Zanna, M. P., & Fong, G.T. (1996). Why common sense goes out the window: The effects of alcohol on intentions to use condoms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 763-775.
  • Meichenbaum, D., & Fong, G.T. (1993). Toward a theoretical model of the role of reasons in nonadherence to health-related advice. In D. M. Wegner & J. W. Pennebaker (Eds.), Handbook of mental control (pp.473-490). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Jemmott, J. B. III, Jemmott, L. S., & Fong, G.T. (1992). Reductions in HIV risk-associated sexual behaviors among Black male adolescents: Effects of an AIDS prevention intervention. American Journal of Public Health, 82, 372-377.
  • Nisbett, R. E., Fong, G.T., Lehman, D., & Cheng, P. W. (1987). Teaching reasoning. Science, 238, 625-631.
  • Fong, G.T., Krantz, D. H., & Nisbett, R. E. (1986). The effects of statistical training on thinking about everyday problems. Cognitive Psychology, 18, 253-292.
University of Waterloo

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