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Factors affecting tobacco smoking in Ethiopia: evidence from the demographic and health surveys
Authors: Harminder Guliani, Samuel Gamtessa, and Monika Çule
Source: BMC Public Health, 19: 938; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7200-8
Topic(s): Tobacco use
Country: Africa
Published: JUL 2019
Abstract: Background Tobacco smoking is growing at an alarming rate in the developing world and sub-Saharan Africa. Although Ethiopia has a relatively low rate in the region, it is not immune to the tobacco epidemic. The government of Ethiopia passed an anti-tobacco bill in 2015 that includes measures governing tobacco consumption, advertising, packaging, and labeling. To effectively address the challenge of tobacco control, the government should consider a number of aspects of tobacco production and consumption, such as local production in rural areas, as well as the complementarity nature of tobacco and khat use. Methods Using the World Bank’s Demographic and Health Surveys (2011 and 2016), this paper analyzes the key determinants of tobacco smoking in Ethiopia, emphasizing possible differences in various social contexts, across regions. More specifically, we assess the association between khat use and tobacco smoking while controlling for various observed individual-level, household-level, and community-level covariates. Using GPS data, we are able to capture the neighboring effects of smoking behavior in community clusters bordering other administrative regions as well as differences in smoking patterns between lowland and highland residents. We utilize a multilevel modeling framework and use a two-stage residual inclusion estimation method that accounts for the endogeneity of khat and tobacco use. Results The results suggest that chewing khat and geographic regions are statistically significant determinants of tobacco smoking even after controlling for various socioeconomic and demographic factors. Altitude information analysis suggests that people living in lowlands are more likely to smoke compared to those living in highland areas. Additional analysis including interactions between regions and khat use indicate wide inter-regional variations in tobacco smoking by khat users. We also extend our analysis by interacting khat use with religious adherence. Results indicate a wide variation in tobacco smoking by khat chewers across different religious groups. Conclusions To effectively control tobacco smoking of the diverse communities in Ethiopia, policymakers should consider a multi-pronged policy approach that combines various policy tools that account for regional variation, the local social contexts, as well as the complementary nature of smoking and khat chewing practices. Keywords Tobacco smoking Khat chewing Two-stage residual inclusion Multi-level analysis Ethiopia