NIH News Release
Fogarty International Center
For Advanced Study in the Health Sciences

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Jennifer Cabe
or Irene Edwards
(301) 496-2075

Fogarty International Center Announces First Awards for International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program

Bethesda, Maryland — The Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and eight partners announce 14 new research and training grants to combat the growing incidence of tobacco-caused illnesses and death in the developing world. FIC led the development of the International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program in close collaboration with five NIH institutes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative (WHO-TFI). In addition to FIC, the five NIH partners are the National Cancer Institute (NCI); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). The combined financial commitment from FIC, its NIH partners, and the CDC is approximately $3.8 million for the first year of these five-year awards. Total support will be approximately $20.5 million over the next five years.

“Smoking represents one of the greatest challenges to health, both in the United States and worldwide,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “This new NIH program supports critically needed research and training to identify ways to prevent or reduce smoking rates worldwide, especially in the developing world.”

According to WHO, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in adults globally. More than 1 billion people — about one-third of the world’s adult population — smoke, making tobacco use one of the greatest global health threats. Each year approximately 4 million people worldwide die from diseases caused by tobacco use. If current smoking patterns persist, the number of deaths caused by tobacco use is expected to reach 10 million annually by the year 2025, surpassing the death toll from AIDS, tuberculosis, automobile accidents, homicide, suicide, and childbirth combined. Seventy percent of this increase will occur in the developing world, where health care systems are insufficient to address current needs and will be strained to the brink by tobacco-caused illnesses.

“We are launching this program to provide support for the development of scientific data necessary for decision-making about tobacco issues,” said FIC Director Gerald T. Keusch, M.D. on behalf of the partners. “As developing countries grapple with the enormous toll that tobacco will take on families and communities, and as they establish tobacco-control programs, it is essential that they have access to the best data. Our consultation with scientists from the developing world was crucial in helping us understand where the needs are most critical.”

“We are delighted to see the range of approaches and the depth of expertise in these applications,” said NCI Director Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. “We expect that this new global tobacco research effort will yield results that will help us address prevention and intervention at home as well as globally.”

The goals of the International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program are to reduce the burden of tobacco consumption in low- and middle-income nations by conducting observational, interventional, and policy research of local relevance and to build capacity in epidemiological and behavioral research, prevention, treatment, communications, health services, and policy research. The knowledge and interventions developed abroad through this innovative research and training program will benefit the United States by building greater understanding of the many socio-cultural issues related to tobacco, such as why young people begin smoking.

In making these awards, FIC and its partners will establish a global network of researchers who will develop research data; train the next generation of tobacco-control scientists; and share state-of-the-art findings with each other about best practices, opportunities, and obstacles in tobacco-control research.

The successful applicants for the first International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program awards:

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. FIC will commemorate its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2003 with a year-long lecture series on global health issues and a scientific symposium on May 20-21, 2003. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Press releases, fact sheets, and other FIC-related materials are available at