Strengthening actions to end tobacco use

The International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project at the University of Waterloo has been awarded one of six Governor General’s Innovation Awards for 2021. Celebrating excellence in innovation that makes a positive impact on quality of life in Canada, the honour is awarded jointly to the interdisciplinary ITC team including Faculty of Arts’ Geoffrey Fong (Psychology), Faculty of Mathematics’ Mary Thompson (Statistics and Actuarial Science), and Faculty of Health’s David Hammond (School of Public Health and Health Systems).

“With the persistent leadership of Dr. Geoffrey Fong, the ITC Project, centered at the University of Waterloo, is globally renowned for its innovative research supporting and defending effective tobacco control policies such as graphic health warnings, smoke free laws, advertising bans, and tobacco taxes,” states the Governor General’s Innovation Award citation.

“This pioneering research, across 29 countries covering over half of the world’s population, has led Canada and many other countries to strengthen their tobacco control efforts, improving the health of millions of people worldwide,” the citation continued.

Fong, a professor of social psychology, founded the ITC Project in 2002, and has been its Chief Principal Investigator heading the ITC team of more than 150 researchers across its 29 countries. Both Thompson and Hammond have been key project collaborators since then.

“From the very beginning, the ITC Project has been a truly inter-faculty research program involving three faculties at UWaterloo – Arts, Math and Health, with the three of us representing each of the three faculties,” says Fong. “This is a truly special honour in that we are receiving the Governor General’s Innovation Award with five other recipients whose accomplishments are so extraordinary and so diverse-a diversity that is reflective of Canadian society itself.”

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