What We Do

The global tobacco control environment changes every day. In this fast paced environment, Tobacco Watcher helps you to stay on top of these changes by finding, analyzing and delivering the world’s tobacco-related news right to you and in real-time. With these tools, you can inspect and understand current and historic trends in tobacco-related media from all over the world.

Find out the what, where and when by reading news articles selected by scanning millions of articles from tens of thousands of unique sources in twenty-three languages.

Operating 24/7/365, this advanced data processing platform consists of two phases.

First, our computers search the web to identify a vast range of potentially tobacco-related news media with the help of both popular search engines and social media platforms. Constantly scanning these sources, our computers examine millions of articles to find those that are tobacco-related, identifying relevant articles with over ninety-nine percent accuracy using sophisticated language understanding algorithms that go beyond keywords and phrases to identify the core topic of each article.

Second, our computers sift through discovered tobacco-related news articles and organize them for the tobacco control expert. Each article is analyzed to determine the center geographic focus, and major subject category. All articles are automatically translated into English, providing a portal to a global media landscape for the English-speaking user, while retaining the original text for non-English speakers. For example, Tobacco Watcher currently classifies news articles into eight subject categories (such as tobacco prices, including taxation or minimum price laws) covering news describing the tobacco control landscape in eighty-two nations.

With both phases working in tandem, Tobacco Watcher finds over 3,000 news articles each day, analyzing and delivering those most relevant to tobacco control advocates, policy makers, and investigators.

You can filter through our archives using our custom designed classifications, such as filtering to only view articles that are popular on social media, or personalize your filters by searching for articles using keywords or phrases, including articles not written in but translated into English.

You can further improve your appreciation of tobacco-related media by creating personalized email alerts, delivering new news to your email inbox everyday. Last, understand the broader context or evaluate your tobacco control programs by plotting and analyzing daily trends in tobacco-related media.

All this freely available and delivered in one easy to use interface, accessible on your desktop or on the go from your tablet and phone.

147 countries
24/7/365 data collection
6000+ articles analyzed per day
353K+ web sources
16 languages
9 categories

Who We Support


Tobacco Watcher is designed to make media monitoring easier and more effective, thereby informing and improving global tobacco control.

Tobacco control advocates, investigators, and students spend can spend hours searching through the same news articles to find tobacco-related content they care about. Tobacco Watcher now does the searching for you. Moreover, by classifying tobacco-related media by content and location, in twenty-three languages, you can explore far more of the tobacco control landscape than was previously possible. As a result, advocates, policy makers and researchers can spend much more of their time analyzing instead of searching for data.

Who We Are

Tobacco Watcher was born out of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Our mission is to prevent death and disease from tobacco products by generating evidence to support effective tobacco control interventions through (1) knowledge generation, synthesis and translation, (2) evaluation and surveillance, and (3) capacity building. Tobacco Watcher elevates our efforts in all three domains complimenting our other work on global tobacco focused surveillance, such as our tobacco pack surveillance system.

Joanna E. Cohen Ph.D., M.H.Sc

Joanna E. Cohen Ph.D., M.H.Sc

Dr. Cohen is the Bloomberg Professor of Disease Prevention at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she oversees studies on the implementation and evaluation of global tobacco control.

John W. Ayers Ph.D., M.A.

John Ayers

Dr. Ayers is a global leader in public health surveillance, harnessing big data with a particular focus on chronic disease, health behavior and health policy outcomes, at HealthWatcher Inc and San Diego State University.

Mark Dredze Ph.D.

Mark Dredze Ph.D.

Dr. Dredze is a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University. He is an internationally recognized researcher with expertise in machine learning and natural language processing of health-related text and social media.

Our Funders

Tobacco Watcher is funded by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use through a grant to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.