Original Articles

Tobacco Use Trends among Adolescents and Adults in South Africa

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 2, 2008 , pages: 339–345
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820207
Author(s): Karl PeltzerHuman Sciences Research Council & University of the Free State,


The purpose of this review is to synthesize the national prevalence data from eight surveys on tobacco use in South Africa over the past 13 years. Results from the national studies indicate that tobacco use among adults is on the decline in South Africa. The same applies to daily smoking and daily smokeless tobacco use among adolescents. However, onset of tobacco use and the prevalence of current smoking among adolescents seem not to have changed over the years. While exposure to tobacco smoke outside the home decreased from 56.5% in 1999 to 36.2% in 2002 among adolescents, exposure to tobacco smoke inside the home increased from 41.7% in 1999 to 73.3% in 2002. This change may be attributed to the introduction of the tobacco control act that from 2000 banned smoking in public places. The decline of overall daily smoking in South Africa may be attributed to the tobacco control strategy based on 1) rapidly increasing excise taxes on tobacco, and (2) comprehensive legislation, of which the most important features are banning all tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and prohibition of smoking in public and work places.

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