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The conceptual framework of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project
  1. G T Fong1,
  2. K M Cummings2,
  3. R Borland3,
  4. G Hastings4,
  5. A Hyland2,
  6. G A Giovino2,
  7. D Hammond5,
  8. M E Thompson6
  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  3. 3Cancer Control Research Institute, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Institute for Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research, University of Stirling and the Open University, Stirling, UK
  5. 5Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Geoffrey T Fong
 PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada; gfong{at}


This paper describes the conceptual model that underlies the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project), whose mission is to measure the psychosocial and behavioural impact of key policies of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) among adult smokers, and in some countries, among adult non-smokers and among youth. The evaluation framework utilises multiple country controls, a longitudinal design, and a pre-specified, theory-driven conceptual model to test hypotheses about the anticipated effects of specific policies. The ITC Project consists of parallel prospective cohort surveys of representative samples of adult smokers currently in nine countries (inhabited by over 45% of the world’s smokers), with other countries being added in the future. Collectively, the ITC Surveys constitute the first-ever international cohort study of tobacco use. The conceptual model of the ITC Project draws on the psychosocial and health communication literature and assumes that tobacco control policies influence tobacco related behaviours through a causal chain of psychological events, with some variables more closely related to the policy itself (policy-specific variables) and other variables that are more downstream from the policy, which have been identified by health behaviour and social psychological theories as being important causal precursors of behaviour (psychosocial mediators). We discuss the objectives of the ITC Project and its potential for building the evidence base for the FCTC.

  • ETS, environmental tobacco smoke
  • FCTC, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • GYTS, Global Youth Tobacco Survey
  • ITC, International Tobacco Control, NIH, US National Institutes of Health
  • SES, socioeconomic status
  • TTURC, Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center
  • tobacco control policy
  • policy evaluation
  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
  • health behaviour theory

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  • The ITC Project is supported by grants R01 CA 100362 and P50 CA111236 (Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center) from the National Cancer Institute of the United States, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (045734), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (57897), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (265903), Cancer Research UK (C312/A3726), Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative (014578); Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, National Cancer Institute of Canada/Canadian Cancer Society. Role of the funding sources: The funding sources had no role in the study design, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the report, and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interest statement: All authors declare that the answer to the questions on the competing interest form are all “No” and therefore have nothing to declare.

  • Ethics approval: This manuscript is a review and presentation of the conceptual framework of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project and as such, there are no primary data presented in this manuscript. Hence, ethics approval is not relevant for this manuscript.