Dr. Geoffrey Fong
Dr. Geoffrey Fong
Dr. Geoffrey Fong
Senior Investigator


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). Astonishingly, tobacco smoking is projected to kill up to a billion people in the 21st century, ten times the number that were killed by tobacco in the 20th 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 29 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 Japan, 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 2012 revision of Canada’s pictorial health warnings. ITC findings in Australia evaluating the impact of plain packaging were used to support Canada’s own plain packaging regulations.

In addition to its continuing global research on evaluating tobacco control policies, Dr. Fong’s ITC Project is now conducting a multi-project research program funded by the US National Cancer Institute to examine the impact of e-cigarettes and other new nicotine delivery products on cigarette smoking involving ITC surveys of adult smokers and vapers and of youth across Canada, United States, England, and Australia. This project also involves analyses of e-liquids and devices (chemical analyses and biomarker analyses of exposure) across the countries, experimental behavioral economics studies of the impact of policies and regulations, and simulation modeling to estimate the impact of use of these new products on future public health outcomes. The initial set of 13 articles was published in 2019 in a supplement of the journal, Addiction.

Experience & Education
  • 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
  • Lecturer in Psychology, Northwestern University
Current Affiliations
  • Senior Investigator, OICR
  • Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo
  • Professor of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo
  • Visiting Scientist, Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Navi Mumbai, India
  • Visiting Professor, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Select Publications

See Dr. Fong’s recent publications on PubMed or on Google Scholar.

Research Areas
Cancer Control Prevention Survivorship and Outcomes
Disease Areas
  • Health Research Foundation, Medal of Honour, 2019
  • Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, Award for Distinguished Service in Cancer Research, 2019
  • Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, John Slade Award, 2019
  • Ochsner Health System, Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease, 2018
  • American Association of Public Opinion Research, Policy Impact Award, 2017
  • CIHR Institute for Population and Public Health, Senior Trailblazer Award, 2017
  • Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Social Sciences), Fellow, 2017
  • University of Waterloo, Arts Excellence in Research Award, 2016
  • Canadian Cancer Society Prevention Initiative Research Scientist Award, 2011-2016
  • American Cancer Society, Luther L. Terry Award for Outstanding Research Contribution, 2015
  • Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Fellow, 2015
  • University of Waterloo, Outstanding Performance Award, 2006, 2013, 2015
  • Statistical Society of Canada (with Mary E. Thompson and David Hammond),
    Lise Manchester Award, 2012
  • Association for Psychological Science, Fellow, 2012
  • World Health Organization, World No Tobacco Day Award, 2013
  • CIHR, Knowledge Translation Award, 2011
  • CIHR and Canadian Medical Association Journal (with Mary E. Thompson and David Hammond), Top Canadian Achievement in Health Research, 2009
  • University of Waterloo, Distinguished Teaching Award, 1999
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 29 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, Spain, and Japan. 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.

In the News
Dr. Geoffrey Fong receives prestigious O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society
Dr. Geoffrey Fong receives prestigious O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society
Jun 09, 2021
Ban on menthol cigarettes in Canada leads to more smokers quitting
Ban on menthol cigarettes in Canada leads to more smokers quitting
Apr 15, 2021