Geoffrey Fong


Contact information

Research web page: International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project)

Awards and Honours

University of Waterloo:

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



Research interests

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in Canada and 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 31 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 31 countries. In each country, the ITC Project has conducted 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. The global ITC Project data base from the 180 survey waves, with over 300,000 respondents, consists of over 140 million data points, leading to over 750 journal articles and over 1,500 papers presented at scientific meetings. ITC research has included a focus on the following policy domains:

  • 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, Canada, 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 80 articles involving economic analyses, including those in 3 special supplements in the journal Tobacco Control on economic analyses of ITC data in 20142015, and 2019)
  • Communication and education – including population-level analyses of the impact of media campaigns in China, Malaysia and Thailand, and Mauritius.
  • Cessation – including studies of the effectiveness of stop-smoking medication across different countries and recent studies on e-cigarettes and their relation to quitting smoking),
  • Tobacco marketing – including studies of the impact of bans on product display and point-of-sale advertising, including the complexities of measuring the impact of various aspects of advertising, retailer density, and proximity.
  • 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. Recent work has included landmark evaluation studies of the impact of menthol cigarette bans in Canada, the Netherlands, and England. Our evaluation studies have provided real-world evidence supporting the US FDA’s proposed menthol ban, which the FDA cited in their announcement of the forthcoming ban.
  • 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, heated tobacco products, and other nicotine products in the evolving nicotine delivery market across 7 countries: Canada, United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.

The ITC Project has an intensive focus on disseminating our research findings to support evidence-based approaches to tobacco control. We have strong collaborations 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 have produced over 150 dissemination products (e.g., national reports, policy reports, government submissions) to communicate our findings to policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders. 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.

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

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. 

Recent publications

  • Chen, D.T., Nargis, N., Fong, G.T., Huq, S.M., Quah, A.C.K., Millett, C., & Filippidis, F.T. (in press). Transitions between smoking and smokeless tobacco use among adults in Bangladesh: Longitudinal findings from the ITC Bangladesh Surveys. Lancet Regional Health–Southeast Asia. Published Online First: 12 April 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.lansea.2023.100185. Link.
  • Chung-Hall, J., Fong, G.T., Meng, G., & Craig, L.V. (in press). Illicit cigarette purchasing after implementation of menthol ban in Canada: findings from the 2016-2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Tobacco Control. Published Online First: 06 January 2023. doi: 10.1136/tc-2022-057697. Link
  • Hall, P.A., Ayaz, H., Meng, G., Hudson, A., Sakib, M. N., Quah, A.C.K., Agar, T.K., Lee, J.A., Boudreau, C., & Fong, G.T. (2023). Neurocognitive and psychiatric symptoms following infection with COVID-19: Evidence from laboratory and population studies. Brain Behaviour & Immunity - Health, 28, 100595. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2023.100595. Link
  • Kyriakos, C.N., Driezen, P., Fong, G.T., Chung-Hall, J., Hyland, A., Geboers, C., Quah, A.C.K., Willemsen, M., & Filippidis, F.T. (in press). Impact of the European Union’s menthol cigarette ban on smoking cessation outcomes: Longitudinal findings from the 2020-2021 ITC Netherlands Surveys. Tobacco Control. Published Online First: 26 September 2022. doi:10.1136/tc-2022-057428. Link
  • Fong, G.T., Chung-Hall, J., Meng, G., Craig, L.V., Thompson, M.E., Quah, A.C.K., Cummings, K.M., Hyland, A., O’Connor, R.J., Levy D.T., Delnevo, C., Ganz, O., Eissenberg, T., Soule, E.K., Schwartz, R., Cohen, J.E., & Chaiton, M.O. (in press). Impact of Canada’s menthol cigarette ban on quitting among menthol smokers: pooled analysis of pre–post evaluation from the ITC Project and the Ontario Menthol Ban Study and projections of impact in the USA. Tobacco Control. Published Online First: 28 April 2022. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2021-057227. Link
  • Kasza, K.A., Hammond, D., Gravely, S., O’Connor, R.J., Meng, G., East, K., Borland, R., Cummings, K.M., Fong, G.T., & Hyland, A. (2023). Associations between nicotine vaping uptake and cigarette smoking cessation vary by smokers’ plans to quit: Longitudinal findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Addiction, 118(2), 340-352. doi: 10.1111/add.16050. Link.
  • Gravely, S., Chung-Hall, J., Craig, L., Fong, G.T., Cummings, K.M., Borland, R., Yong, H-H, Martin, N., Quah, A.C.K., Hammond, D., Ouimet, J., Boudreau, C., Thompson, M.E., & Driezen, P. (2023). Evaluating the impact of plain packaging among Canadian smokers: Findings from the 2018 and 2020 ITC Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Tobacco Control, 32(2), 153-162. Link.
  • Gravely, S., Meng, G., Hammond, D., Hyland, A., Cummings, K.M., Borland, R., Kasza, K.A., Yong, H.H., Thompson, M.E., Quah, A.C.K., Ouimet, J., Martin, N., O’Connor, R.J., East, K., McNeill, A., Boudreau, C., Levy, D., Sweanor, D., Fong, G.T. (2022). Differences in cigarette smoking quit attempts and cessation between adults who did and did not take up nicotine vaping: Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Addictive Behaviors, 132, 107339. Doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107339. Link
  • Hall, P.A., Fong, G.T., Hitchman, S.C., Quah, A.C.K., Agar, T., Meng, G., Ayaz, H., Dore, B.P., Sakib, M.N., Hudson, A., & Boudreau, C. (2022). Brain and behavior in health communication: The Canadian COVID-19 Experiences Project. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity–Health, 22, 100467. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100467. Link
  • King, B.A., Ahluwalia, I.B., Gomes, A.B.F., & Fong, G.T. (2022). Combating the tobacco epidemic in North America: Challenges and opportunities. Tobacco Control, 31(2), 169-172. Doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2021-056812. [Invited submission for 30th anniversary issue.] Link

Selected 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
  • 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.
  • 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