The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) is a global survey on tobacco use among young people which works in conjunctions with the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) project, promoted by the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization, to monitor health risk behaviours in youth aged 11-15 years. More specifically, while HBSC is targeted at youth aged 11, 13 and 15 years, GYTS focuses on smoking habits among young people aged 13 to 15 years. Both surveys are conducted every 4 years. Monitoring tobacco use among youth can be useful to guide the implementation and evaluation of health promotion and prevention programmes, and in particular to support anti-smoking policies. In addition, to facilitate comparison of tobacco use data at the global, national and regional levels, GYTS uses a standardized methodology for constructing the sampling frame and for data collection and analysis.
The GYTS surveillance involves the administration (to a sample of about 1500 students in their 3rd year of lower secondary school and 1st and 2nd years of upper secondary school) of an 80-item questionnaire developed by an international multidisciplinary team, translated into the languages of the participating countries and adapted to different national contexts through the inclusion of country-specific questions. The questionnaire is administered in school by teachers and completed anonymously by the students. Participation by individual students is on a voluntary basis, and prior informed consent is obtained from parents. The survey also includes a short questionnaire about the school environment addressed to the teaching staff.
The areas investigated by the GYTS surveillance include:
- Prevalence of cigarette smoking and other tobacco use among young people
- Knowledge and attitudes of young people towards cigarette smoking
- Role of the media and advertising in young people’s use of cigarettes
- Access to tobacco products
- Tobacco-related school curriculum
- Environmental tobacco smoke
- Cessation of cigarette smoking.
GYTS in Italy
GYTS is included in the list of Italy’s national surveillance systems and registries of diseases identified by the Prime Ministerial Decree (DPCM) of 3 March 2017 (“Identification of surveillance systems and registries of mortality, tumours and other diseases, implementing Decree-Law n. 179 of 2012”).
In Italy, the first data collection for the GYTS surveillance took place during the 2009-2010 school year, the second during the 2013-2014 school year and the third (coordinated by the ISS) during the 2017-2018 school year.