Research Articles

Prevalence and factors associated with tobacco use among adults attending selected healthcare facilities in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

E O Owolabi, D T Goon, O V Adeniyi, E Seekoe, A O Adedokun
South African Family Practice | Vol 59, No 6 : November/December| a4790 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 05 December 2017 | Published:

About the author(s)

E O Owolabi, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
D T Goon, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
O V Adeniyi, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
E Seekoe, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
A O Adedokun, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Aim: Tobacco use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death and certain cancers. This study investigated the prevalence and determinants of tobacco use among adults in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM), South Africa.

Methods: This study forms part of the cardio-metabolic risk survey carried out at the three largest outpatient clinics in BCMM. This multi-centre cross-sectional survey utilised the relevant items of the WHO STEPwise questionnaire to obtain information on demographic and behavioural characteristics of 1 107 participants. A total of 109 participants were excluded as a result of incomplete data. Thus, 998 participants (male = 327; female = 671) were included in the analysis. Self-reported, current use of any tobacco product was defined as tobacco use while secondary smoking was defined as exposure of non-smokers to environmental tobacco smoke, either at home or in the workplace.

Results: Of all the study participants, 150 (15%) were current tobacco users and 335 (39.5%) of the non-smoking participants were exposed to secondary smoking. The majority of the tobacco users were males (70.7%) compared with females (29.3%). The commonest form of tobacco use was the manufactured cigarette. The mean age at initiation of smoking was 18.3 ± 5.1 and 22.6 ± 8.0 years for men and women, respectively. Only male sex (p = 0.000), single status (p = 0.003), no formal education (p = 0.007) and self-employment (p = 0.043) were significantly associated with tobacco use.

Conclusion: High prevalence of tobacco use, especially cigarette smoking, in BCMM is worrisome given its strong association with cardiovascular events and cancers. The district health authorities should prioritise smoking cessation measures at the primary health care level.

(Full text of the research articles are available online at

S Afr Fam Pract 2017; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1340251


adults; Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality; prevalence; smoking; tobacco use


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