Why this Project Matters 

As traditional forms of tobacco advertising become restricted or banned in many countries, the tobacco industry uses the cigarette pack itself as a key marketing method to attract new smokers and retain current ones. The Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed the Tobacco Pack Surveillance System (TPackSS) project to systematically document the variety of cigarette packages available in the 14 low- and middle-income countries with the greatest number of smokers.

The goal of TPackSS is to monitor whether required health warnings on tobacco packages are being implemented as intended, and to identify pack design features and marketing appeals that might violate or detract from country tobacco packaging requirements in these countries. TPackSS has been developed with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.

TPackSS in Action

TPackSS began with an explanatory and planning phase in 2012 to identify strategic goals and systematic protocols for the project. The initial collection of tobacco packs in all 14 countries took place in 2013. The TPackSS team has conducted subsequent data collection in countries as they have implemented new health warning label requirements.

What the Site Offers

Our site offers a searchable database of the tobacco packs, as well as information about health warning label requirements and compliance with these requirements. In addition, we include publications from TPackSS findings and other related resources. It is our goal that the site will support advocacy for full implementation of health warning labels that are compliant with country requirements and that are aligned with the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 11 Guidelines.

TPackSS Data Usage and Data Collection

Interested in doing your own research using TPackSS data? We encourage it!

Before using TPackSS data for your own purposes, we request that you contact tpackss@jhsph.edu to receive a TPackSS Data Project request form. This form helps us understand your project idea and allows us to grant you permission to use the data for your project. We want to be a useful partner to you. Due to our deep understanding of the pack collection protocol and its assumptions, we can work with you to ensure that the interpretation of the findings is accurate. This form also allows you to specify if you would like access to additional TPackSS data that is not on the website for a more detailed analysis. Check for additional variables here.

One of the main purposes of the TPackSS project and this website is for its data to be a resource to fellow researchers interested in contributing to the tobacco control field. Therefore, we encourage the use of TPackSS data to help provide evidence to support tobacco control policy around the globe. We kindly ask that you do not use TPackSS data in your own research or publications without IGTC’s consent.

Interested in using the TPackSS protocol for your own data collection? We encourage this too!

You do not need approval from IGTC to do so—you can find protocol information here. We just ask that you appropriately acknowledge your use of the TPackSS protocol in your publications as well as describe any modifications you made to the protocol. Please contact IGTC at tpackss@jhsph.edu if you have any questions.

Interested in using TPackSS images in your project or publication? Go for it!

Please just use the following citation to cite any TPackSS photos:

Tobacco Pack Surveillance System (TPackSS). Pack Search. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. https://globaltobaccocontrol.org/tpackss/pack-search [Last Updated 29 April 2022].


Dr. Katherine Clegg Smith (co-principal investigator), Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Joanna Cohen (co-principal investigator), Bloomberg Professor of Disease Prevention and director of IGTC at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Kevin Welding (co-investigator), Assistant Scientist in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society and associate director of IGTC at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Project Team & Collaborators

Lauren Czaplicki, assistant scientist

Jenny Brown, assistant scientist

Grazi Grilo, senior research program coordinator

Sejal Saraf, senior research program coordinator

Qinghua Nian, PhD, senior biostatistician 

Beladenta Amalia, PhD, post-doctoral fellow 

Hannah Barker, MPH, senior research program coordinator 

Alena Madar, research assistant

In-country Collaborators

Bangladesh: Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP)

Brazil: ACTbr, Aliança de Controle do Tabagismo

China: RisingSun Marketing Research & Consulting

Egypt: AskConsultant for Family Health

India: Healis Sekhsaria Institute For Public Health

Indonesia: Tobacco Control Support Center

Mexico: Departamento de Investigación sobre Tabaco Instituto de Salud Publica

Pakistan: Dr. Amina Khan, The Initiative, CEO and Public Health Consultant

Philippines: GoodThinking Research, Inc.

Thailand: Dr. William Kittredge, Cervelet Consulting LLC President

Turkey: Dr. Asli Carkoglu, Kadir Has University

Ukraine: Life Regional Advocacy Center

Viet Nam: Milestones Company, Ltd