Original research

Smoking cessation on the African continent: Challenges and opportunities

C Batini, T Ahmed, S Ameer, G Kolonzo, U Ozoh, R van Zyl Smit


Tobacco smoking is one of the world’s single biggest preventable causes of death. Over 8 million people die each year of a tobacco-related illness – both directly and as a result of second-hand smoke. Combating this epidemic requires commitment from policy makers, healthcare workers and civil society. The WHO has invested extensively in supporting policy frameworks to assist countries to combat tobacco advertising, sales and promotion. Despite these interventions, over 1 billion people actively smoke, of whom >80% live in low- or middle-income countries. Strong policies, high taxation and cigarette pricing dissuade smokers effectively, but the clinician is frequently the individual who is faced with the smoker wishing to quit. Although many African countries have policies regarding tobacco control, very few have programmes to support smokers who wish to quit, and even fewer have active training programmes to equip healthcare practitioners to assist active smokers in breaking their addiction to nicotine. We present a perspective from several countries across the African continent, highlighting the challenges and opportunities to work together to build capacity for smoking cessation services throughout Africa.

Authors' affiliations

C Batini, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, UK

T Ahmed, Division of Pulmonology and UCT Lung Institute, Department of Medicine and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

S Ameer, Department of Medicine, Harare Central Hospital, Harare, Zimbabwe

G Kolonzo, Department of Psychiatry, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

U Ozoh, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

R van Zyl Smit, Division of Pulmonology and UCT Lung Institute, Department of Medicine and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2019;25(2):46-48. DOI:10.7196/SARJ.2019.v25i2.015

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-07-25
Date published: 2019-07-31

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