Dr. Geoffrey Fong

Contact information

Geoffrey Fong's research web page

Award and Honours

Elected Fellow: Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Association for Psychological Science

University of Waterloo:

  • 2006, 2013, 2015, 2020 – Outstanding Performance Award
  • 2016 – Arts Excellence in Research Award
  • 1999 – Distinguished Teaching Award


  • 2021 Governor General’s Innovation Award
  • 2020 Canadian Cancer Society O. Harold Warwick Prize
  • 2019 – Health Research Foundation Medal of Honour
  • 2019 – Canadian Cancer Research Alliance Award for Distinguished Service in Cancer Research
  • 2017 – CIHR Institute for Population and Public Health Senior Trailblazer Award
  • 2007-22 – Ontario Institute for Cancer Research Senior Investigator Award
  • 2011 – CIHR Knowledge Translation Award
  • 2011-16 – Canadian Cancer Society Prevention Research Scientist Award
  • 2012 – Statistical Society of Canada Lise Manchester Award
  • 2009 – Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Canadian Medical Association Journal Top Canadian Achievement in Health Research


  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 – Clarivate Analytics List of Highly Cited Researchers –Social Sciences General (List of researchers with the greatest number of highly cited (top 1%) papers)
  • 2019 – Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco John Slade Award
  • 2018 – Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease
  • 2017 – American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Policy Impact Award
  • 2015 – American Cancer Society Luther L. Terry Award for Outstanding Research Contribution
  • 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 up to 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 in 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. A central objective of the ITC Project is to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural 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 29 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. There are over 150 ITC Project researchers across the 29 countries. In each country, the ITC Project is conducting longitudinal cohort surveys (of large probability samples of tobacco users, e.g., in China, 8,000 smokers and 2,000 non-smokers across 5 large cities and 5 rural areas) 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, UK, New Zealand, and the EU),
  • Smoke-free legislation – we conducted the national evaluation of Ireland’s seminal comprehensive smoke-free law (Ireland was the first country to implement such a law), and have conducted national evaluations of smoke-free laws (comprehensive vs. partial) in many other countries,
  • Tobacco tax/price policies – economic analyses have been a central focus of our research program. We have published over 50 articles involving economic analyses, including those in 3 special supplements in the journal Tobacco Control on economic analyses of ITC data in 2014, 2015, and 2019)
  • Communication and education – including population-level analyses of the impact of media campaigns in China, 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 marketing – 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, biomarker studies of exposure to toxicants from tobacco and nicotine products
  • E-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine delivery products (ANDS) – our current work includes a major program project grant from the US National Cancer Institute to examine the impact of products and policies/regulations in the use of e-cigarettes and other ANDS in the evolving nicotine delivery market across Canada, Australia, England, and US.

The ITC Project has published over 500 journal articles and has presented findings in over 1,200 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 behaviour, including the effects of alcohol intoxication on risky health behaviours (e.g., risky sex), and on the creation, implementation, and evaluation of behavioural 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

  • Hammond, D., Reid, J.L., Rynard, V.L., Fong, G.T., Cummings, K.M., McNeill, A., Hitchman, S., Thrasher, J.F., Goniewicz, M., Bansal-Travers, M., O’Connor, R.J., Levy, D., Borland, R., & White, C.M. (2019, June 18). Prevalence of vaping and smoking among adolescents in Canada, England, and the United States: repeat national cross sectional surveys. BMJ, 365, 12219. Link
  • Fong, G.T., Chung-Hall, J., & Craig, L., for the WHO FCTC Impact Assessment Expert Group (2018). Impact assessment of the WHO FCTC over its first decade: methodology of the Expert Group. Tobacco Control, [Published online June 28, 2018; doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054374]. Link
  • 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. Link
  • Gravely, S., Giovino, G.A., Craig, L.V., Commar, A., d'Espaignet, E.T., Schotte, K., & Fong, G.T. (2017). Implementation of key demand-reduction measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and change in smoking prevalence in 126 countries: an association study. Lancet Public Health, 2(4), e166-174. Link
  • 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 Control25, 89-95. Link
  • U.S. National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization. (2017). The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control. National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 21. NIH Publication No. 16-CA-8029A. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; and Geneva, CH: World Health Organization; 2016. (Scientific Editors: Frank J. Chaloupka, Geoffrey T. Fong, & Ayda Yurekli). Link.
  • 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 Cessation11(2), 124-134. Link

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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • 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. Link
  • Nisbett, R. E., Fong, G.T., Lehman, D., & Cheng, P. W. (1987). Teaching reasoning. Science, 238, 625-631. Link
  • 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. Link
University of Waterloo

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