Dr. Geoffrey Fong

Senior Investigator

While advances in early cancer detection and treatment have led to improved cancer outcomes for patients, primary prevention remains by far the best tool to reduce the cancer burden at the population level. Notably, reducing smoking rates at the population level leads to substantial and cost-effective reductions in cancer. OICR recognizes the importance of research designed to inform population approaches to reducing smoking prevalence. Despite reductions in smoking rates in Ontario and Canada, tobacco remains by far the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Ontario, Canada, and throughout the world (including being responsible for about 30 per cent of cancer cases in Canada and worldwide), where tobacco products are projected to kill a billion people in the 21st century.

Professor Geoffrey T. Fong is the Founder and Chief Principal Investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project). The ITC Project’s main objective is to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural impact of population-level policies designed to control tobacco use. Such tobacco control policies are the subject of the first-ever health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The ITC Project conducts large-scale longitudinal prospective cohort studies in 28 countries, inhabited by over 50 per cent of the world’s population, 60 per cent of the world’s smokers and 70 per cent of the world’s tobacco users, including high-income countries such as Canada, US, UK, Australia, France and low- and middle-income countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya and Brazil. ITC findings promote the implementation of evidence-based tobacco control policies throughout the world in a collaborative effort with policymakers, researchers, and advocates to reduce the burden of the global tobacco epidemic.

ITC Project findings have informed tobacco control efforts in Canada and in Ontario, for example, in support of smoke-free laws throughout Ontario and across Canada, including bans on smoking in cars with children, and the 2011-12 revision of Canada’s pictorial health warnings. ITC findings in Australia evaluating the impact of plain packaging are also being used to support Canada’s own plain packaging regulations.

Current affiliations

  • Senior Investigator, OICR;
  • Visiting Scientist, Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health;
  • Professor of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo;
  • Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo.

Research interests

  • Population health;
  • Cancer prevention;
  • Tobacco control;
  • Policy evaluation;
  • Survey methodology;
  • Global health.

Select publications

Fong GT, Cummings KM, Borland R, Hastings G, Hyland A, Giovino GA, Hammond D, Thompson ME.
The conceptual framework of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project.
Tob Control. 2006; 15(Suppl III):iii3-iii11.

Fong GT., Hyland A, Borland R, Hammond D, Hastings G, McNeill A, Anderson S, Cummings KM, Allwright S, Mulcahy M, Howell F, Clancy L, Thompson ME, Connolly G, Driezen P.
Reductions in tobacco smoke pollution and increases in 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.
Tob Control. 2006; 15(Suppl III):iii51-iii58.

Huang J, Chaloupka FJ, Fong GT.
Cigarette graphic warning labels and smoking prevalence in Canada: A critical examination and reformulation of the FDA Regulatory Impact Analysis.
Tob Control. 2014; 23 (Suppl 1):i7-i12.

Gravely S, Fong GT, Driezen P, McNally M, Thrasher JF, Thompson ME, Boado M, Bianco E, Borland R, Hammond D.
The impact of the 2009/2010 enhancement of cigarette health warning labels in Uruguay: Longitudinal findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Uruguay Survey.
Tob Control. 2016; 25(1):89-95.

Chung-Hall J, Craig L, Gravely S, Sansone N, Fong GT.
Impact of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on the implementation and effectiveness of tobacco control measures: A global evidence review. Report submitted to the Independent Expert Group on Impact Assessment of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ITC Project, University of Waterloo. Presented at the 180-country Conference of the Parties of the WHO FCTC 7th meeting; Nov 7 2016, New Delhi, India.

Available from: http://www.who.int/fctc/cop/cop7/Documentation-Supplementary-information/en/

Chaloupka FJ, Yurekli A, Fong, GT. (Eds)
The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control. U.S. National Cancer Institute Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 21. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. 2016.

This monograph is a comprehensive global evidence review of the economics of tobacco and tobacco control, with an emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. Over a decade in the making, this monograph is part of the high-profile tobacco control monograph series of US National Cancer Institute, with support from the World Health Organization.

2016; in press.


  • Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Waterloo (1999);
  • Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo (2006, 2013, 2015);
  • Top Canadian Achievement in Health Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian Medical Association Journal (with Mary E. Thompson and David Hammond) (2009);
  • CIHR Knowledge Translation Award (2011);
  • Canadian Cancer Society Prevention Initiative Research Scientist Award (2011-2016);
  • Lise Manchester Award, Statistical Society of Canada (shared with Mary E. Thompson and David Hammond). This biennial award cited the “unique and historic research effort” of the ITC Project, whose “rigor of statistical design has contributed greatly to its value to countries throughout the world in promoting evidence-based policies in tobacco control.” (2012);
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (2012);
  • WHO World No Tobacco Day Award (“in recognition of work which has been instrumental for the advance of the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, not only in the Region of the Americas but worldwide.”) (2013);
  • Luther R. Terry Award for Outstanding Research Contribution, American Cancer Society, World Conference on Tobacco or Health, 2015 (global award presented every three years at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health) (2015);
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2015);
  • Arts Excellence in Research Award, University of Waterloo (2016).

Previous experience

  • Visiting Scholar, Psychology Department, Stanford University;
  • Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo;
  • Visiting Research Collaborator, Psychology Department, Princeton University;
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo;
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo;
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, Psychology Department, Princeton University;
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, Northwestern University;
  • Social Psychology, University of Michigan;
  • Lecturer in Psychology, Northwestern University.

Opportunities to collaborate

The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project) is a collaborative effort of a transdisciplinary team of over 150 tobacco control researchers from 10 scientific disciplines, across 28 countries—Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico, Uruguay, China, France, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mauritius, Bhutan, India, Kenya, Zambia, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Romania, Hungary, Greece, Poland and Spain. The central objective of the ITC Project is to conduct rigorous evaluation of policies of the FCTC at the level of individuals, using research designs that combine the logic of quasi-experimental designs (“natural experiments”) with theory-based mediational models from psychology and health behaviour, sampling methods and designs from complex survey methods and analytic models that are designed to test for treatment effects in the context of longitudinal surveys.

Related links

Dr. Fong’s website – University of Waterloo, Department of Psychology

International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project


Professor Geoffrey T. Fong
ITC Project, Department of Psychology
University of Waterloo
519-888-4567 ext 33597