Smoking tobacco has been much less common traditionally in Africa than in Europe or North America. But this is changing.
Africa has become a growth market for the tobacco industry, as people in the global North have started to smoke much less. The prevalence of smoking in Europe since the 1990s has dropped by one-third, and even further in the Americas (44%). Over the same period, smoking levels in Africa have increased by over 50% (Reitsma et al. 2017).1 Africa’s youth, in particular, is overrepresented among new smokers (N. Ramanandraibe and A.E. Ouma 2011; Blecher and Ross 2013). This is part of a wider shift in tobacco consumption from richer to poorer countries – it has been projected that 6.8 million of a global total of 8.3 million tobacco-related deaths will occur in low- and middle-income countries by 2030 (Mathers and Loncar 2006). Africa is not only facing rising health care costs connected to tobacco consumption, but also the loss of lives, particularly men, as a consequence of