The Georgia Tobacco Survey (GTS) is a panel survery that collects data from smokers (and former smokers in follow-up waves) on tobacco usage in the Eastern European country of Georgia. The survey covers five regions within Georgia (Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Akhaltsikhe and Gori) and consists of three waves: GTS 2017 (wave 1), GTS 2018 (wave 2) and GTS 2019 (wave3). Wave 1 was conducted in November 2017 as a response to the passing of a new tobacco contral law in 2017. Wave 2 was conducted in December 2018 after the tobacco control law was enacted in May 2018. Wave 3 was conducted in May 2019 following an increase in cigarette excise tax in January 2019. Tobacco taxes are critical in reducing tobacco consumption and thereby improving public health. However, the tobacco industry claims that a tax increase will increase the size of the illicit tobacco market. Therefore, the GTS can be used to assess the extent of the illicit tobacco market in the country.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1: merged, cleaned and anonymized for public use
The survey collects household-level data (income and ownership of certain goods) and individual-level data on household members (demographic data, education level, employment status and pay period). The survey also collects individual-level data on the type of tobacco used, frequency of usage, quantity and knowledge of illicit tobacco consumption in their region. Additionally, respondents were asked to show a cigarette pack to be examined for brand, price, and the presence of a Georgian tax stamp and health warning.
The survey has national coverage, although it is worth noting that data was collected in 5 of Georgia's 12 regions (Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Akhaltsikhe and Gori). These five regions represented 41.2% of the total Georgian population and were chosen based on geographical diversity and/or likely illicit trade hot spots given their proximity to borders.
The lowest level of geographic unit is city district.
The Georgia Tobacco Survey covers all adults in households (aged 18 and older).
Producers and sponsors
Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products
University of Cape Town
Tobacco Control Research and Monitoring Center
Georgian Health Promotion and Education Foundation
Sociology and Social Work Department
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Cancer Research UK
The sampling began with urban and rural stratification, followed by the selection of primary sampling units (census units in urban strata and villages in rural strata) proportional to population size. Secondary sampling units (households) were then selected using the 'random step method'. If no smokers resided in the selected household, a short general survey was administered to the first adult person answering the door. If the household had a smoker, all smokers were listed and one was randomly selected for the interview. If the selected respondent refused or was not home during any of the three interview attempts, another smoking resident was selected. If no smoking residents were available for interview, the household was recorded as 'non-responding' and the interviewer walked past five households on average (the number varied slightly for urban and rural strata) and selected a replacement household.
Surveyors completed 2997 interviews in wave 1. Of those, 1765 people were successfully re-interviewed in wave 2. These were supplemented with new households (also selected using the 'random step method') which brought the total people interviewed in wave 2 to 3040. In wave 3, there were 1578 people interviewed in both waves 1 and 2 (our panel), 240 people interviewed in wave 1 but not in wave 2, 1036 people only interviewed in wave 2, and 335 people added in wave 3 for the first time. As such, there were 3189 people interviewed in wave 3. For quality control, an independent controller crosschecked a randomly selected 10% of completed interviews in each wave and no major errors were identified.
The total attrition in our panel was 52.6% with attrition varying significantly by region. The highest rate was in Tbilisi (62.7%) followed by Kutaisi (52.2%), Akhaltsikhe (47.4%), Gori (31.9%) and Zugdidi (27.4%). Within each region, there was no significant difference in the likelihood of attrition by gender, employment, the probability of showing a pack or the probability of owning an illicit pack. Given the attrition patterns, the analysis was done by region wherever possible.
Weights are released with wave 2 and wave 3 but not wave 1.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The survey was executed following the ethics rules of the Republic of Georgia and received ethics approval from the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Commerce Ethics Board (REF: REC 2019/000/051).
Data Collection Notes
To establish the rates of illicit cigarette consumption, those respondents who indicated they smoked cigarettes were asked to show the interviewer an available cigarette pack. On examination, the packs lacking either a health warning or tax stamp (required by law ) were defined as illicit.
In addition to the household survey, qualitative data were gathered through three focus group discussions (FGDs) with 8–10 participants in each group in Tbilisi, Gori and Zugdidi in December 2018 to obtain additional context of illicit cigarette consumption. The participants were of both genders, different ages and social status, and were mainly smokers or people from smokers’ families. The purpose of the focus groups was to understand why a relatively large percentage of respondents refused to show their cigarette packs to a surveyor. This informed a small change in the questionnaire in waves 2 and 3, where respondents were asked about their cigarettes’ tar content immediately before being asked to show a pack, to encourage people to show packs by shifting the focus from illicit cigarettes (and a possible unease about smoking them).
Iago Kachkachishvili (Sociology and Social Work Department)
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
The surveys conducted in all three waves were similar in format, with a few extra questions added in wave 3 to determine any behavioural changes resulting from the new law and tax increase.
The data received by DataFirst had been cleaned, merged, and processed for analysis before arriving at DataFirst. Further to this, significant data cleaning was undertken by DataFirst. DataFirst cleaned unreadable characters, empty variables and redundant variables out of the data. The data was also anonymised. The syntax files for all of this cleaning is available with the data. Additionally, significant cleaning of the geographic variables was necessary (see data quality notes).
There are a few data quality issues at present:
Time: In the current version 1, there are no usable time variables from any of the waves. There are time variables in wave 1 but it is not clear the units these are measured in - they do not correspond to the usual epoch values one would expect.
Geographic: The locational information was not asked consistently in the questionnaires and the resulting data required some fixing. In urban settings, respondents tended to provide region, city, and city district, whereas in rural areas they provided region, district and village. Furhter, for anonymization village had to be redacted. As such, in urban settings there are 3 geographic levels in the cleaned data but only 2 for rural. Each unique case was also checked on the map and inconsistencies were attempted to be fixed. In some cases inconsistent were unfixable and were then left unchaged.
Weight: At present it is not clear what population totals the weights are calibrated to, or what the data represent when weighted.
Public access data, available to all
Research on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP). Georgia Tobacco Survey. 2018-2019. [dataset]. Version 1. Cape Town: Research on the Economics of Excisable Products [producer], 2019.Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/xfda-yx94