Landscape of tobacco control in sub-Saharan Africa

Catherine O. Egbe, Peter Magati, Emma Wanyonyi, Leonce Sessou, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Olalekan A. Ayo-Yusuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Yearly, tobacco use kills about 8 million people globally, 80% of whom live in low/middle-income countries. Given sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) rapidly increasing and youthful population, growing incomes and the increased presence of the tobacco industry, the number of tobacco users is growing. The region is predicted to face a heavier burden of tobacco-related diseases and deaths in the future. We examined the policy, advocacy, economic and media landscapes of tobacco control as well as tobacco industry interference in SSA. We also highlighted key challenges and priorities for intervention in the region. Their vast financial power has enabled transnational tobacco companies to interfere in tobacco control and slow down policy implementation efforts in SSA. Despite recent gains, inadequate investment in tobacco control has prevented effective tobacco control implementation in SSA. Other challenges include limited locally generated evidence and limited support from mainstream media to back policy and advocacy efforts. Finally, taxation, which is one of the most effective tools for tobacco control, is not yet adequately used in SSA partly due to non-harmonised taxation rates as well as exaggerated and false claims about the potential impacts of increasing taxes, especially that it will increase smuggling. Key priorities to address these challenges include continued strategic funding, capacity building of government and advocacy personnel to strengthen tobacco control governance, regional and institutional cooperation, harmonisation of subregional tax policies, cooperation among international funders, and increased industry monitoring and research in SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalTobacco Control
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • advocacy
  • low/middle-income country
  • public policy
  • tobacco industry

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