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In the African Region, 21% of men and 3% of women—107 million adults total—smoke tobacco. These rates reach as high as 48% for men and 20% for women in some countries (Lesotho and Sierra Leone, respectively). Regarding second-hand smoke, up to one-fifth of adults are exposed in their workplaces, nearly half of young people are exposed in public places and 29% of young people exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

Unfortunately, rates of tobacco use are rising. 18% of young people use tobacco and this use is steadily increasing among girls. Both the population of Sub-Saharan Africa and consumer purchasing power are growing, making a more accessible and attractive market for the tobacco industry to target. Tobacco industry interference poses a major challenge to tobacco control efforts in this region.

Currently, 43 out of 47 African Region countries are parties to the WHO-FCTC.

World Health Organization. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: 10 years of implementation in the African Region. Brazzaville: WHO Regional Office for Africa, 2015.


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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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