Kazakhstan embarks on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey

Assel Umirbaeva

Kazakhstan will be the 7th country in the WHO European Region to conduct the relatively new initiative - the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). On 10-15 February 2014, the GATS team in Kazakhstan led a training of their fieldworkers and supervisors regarding the survey protocol and administering the survey by electronic data collection on IPAQ handhelds.

During the week of 17 February, the team is conducting the pre-test fieldwork to test the survey and the handhelds in “real life” situations. The actual fieldwork will start in April 2014, with preliminary results expected by the end of the year and an official release of the results in early 2015.

The GATS shows the “power of data” and collects information that drives policy change. It informs policy makers and relevant stakeholders of the burden of tobacco use in the country – how many of its citizens use tobacco and how many of its citizens are exposed to tobacco smoke. It informs them also of the impact that recent policies may have on reducing tobacco use, as well as the need and/or public support for strengthening existing tobacco control policies.

In several countries that had previously conducted GATS, they have effectively used the data to drive the tobacco control agenda in their country and effectively protect its citizens from the burden of tobacco. Kazakhstan now faces this same opportunity with a successful GATS in 2014.