Age of smoking initiation among adolescents in Africa
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To estimate prevalence and identify correlates of age of smoking initiation among adolescents in Africa.
Data (n = 16,519) were obtained from nationally representative Global Youth Tobacco Surveys in nine West African countries. Study outcome was adolescents’ age of smoking initiation categorized into six groups: ≤7, 8 or 9, 10 or 11, 12 or 13, 14 or 15 and never-smoker. Explanatory variables included sex, parental or peer smoking behavior, exposure to tobacco industry promotions, and knowledge about smoking harm. Weighted multinomial logit models were conducted to determine correlates associated with adolescents’ age of smoking initiation.
Age of smoking initiation was as early as ≤7 years; prevalence estimates ranged from 0.7 % in Ghana at 10 or 11 years age to 9.6 % in Cote d’Ivoire at 12 or 13 years age. Males, exposures to parental or peer smoking, and industry promotions were identified as significant correlates.
West African policymakers should adopt a preventive approach consistent with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to prevent an adolescent from initiating smoking and developing into future regular smokers.
KeywordsAdolescent Age of smoking initiation Global Youth Tobacco Survey Africa
The authors would like to thank all personnel, including study participants, study coordinators and organizations involved with the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. In particular, the authors would like to acknowledge the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for making the data publicly available through the GTSS data portal.
Compliance with ethical standards
This article includes secondary data analysis of publicly available data.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
The authors declare that no external funds were used to conduct this study.
Conflict of interest
All authors declares no conflict of interest.
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