The landscape of tobacco control in Africa
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National Cancer Institute, United States of America
The Bizzell Group, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A450
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Tobacco use prevalence in Africa is projected to rise over the next 15 years without stronger tobacco control measures. However, little research details the scope of tobacco control research being conducted in Africa. A systematic literature review was conducted to better understand the landscape of tobacco control efforts in Africa.

A literature search of tobacco research conducted in all African countries from 1996 to 2016 was performed in PubMed, Embase, and African Index Medicus. Published abstracts meeting the inclusion criteria of focusing on nicotine or tobacco product(s) and having been conducted in one or more African countries were selected for full coding and analysis. The authors coded on study characteristics such as type of research, tobacco product, and country. Three coders double-coded 5% of the articles reviewed to ensure agreement.

This review found 645 relevant articles, in French and English, representing 52 African countries. South Africa was the focus of the greatest proportion of these published tobacco control research articles (23%), followed by Nigeria (17%), Egypt (13%), and Tunisia (12%). Reporting the prevalence of tobacco use was the focus of 51% of these articles. Other areas of research included the potential determinants of tobacco use (28%); knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about tobacco products or policies (26%); and biological consequences of tobacco use (25%). Most studies (63%) discussed cigarettes, and 15% studied smokeless tobacco. Youth-targeted studies comprised 25% of all research in Africa. Publications per year increased between 1996 and 2015, quadrupling in number by 2015.

A comprehensive review of the literature provides a baseline understanding of the tobacco control landscape and the increased attention countries are showing to tobacco and tobacco control. This research may inform opportunities for further research and for strengthening networks and thereby the capacity to counteract the tobacco industry's advances in Africa.

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