In December 1998, TFI convened a meeting in Geneva with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and representatives from countries in each of the six WHO regions to discuss the need for standardized mechanisms to collect youth tobacco use information on a global basis. The outcome of this meeting was the development by WHO and CDC of a Global Tobacco Surveillance System, which uses the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) as its data collection mechanism.
The GYTS is a school-based survey designed to enhance the capacity of countries to monitor tobacco use among youth and to guide the implementation and evaluation of tobacco prevention and control programs. The GYTS uses a standard methodology for constructing the sampling frame, selecting schools and classes, preparing questionnaires, following consistent field procedures, and using consistent data management procedures for data processing and analysis. The information generated from the GYTS can be used to stimulate the development of tobacco control programs and can serve as a means to assess progress in meeting program goals. In addition, GYTS data can be used to monitor seven Articles in the WHO FCTC.